Sunday, June 26, 2011
Save the Bricks and Mortar Bookstores
Ten things to do at a bookstore in addition to (but definitely not instead of) buying books.
1) Look at the art in new children's pictures.
2) Find classics you always meant to read. Read the first paragraph.
3) Study the demographics around the magazine section.
4) Draw people reading
5) Pick up chicks/dudes
6) Consider a new hobby. Pick out a book to help you with it.
7) Buy greeting cards even though it's no one's birthday; it will be soon.
8) Cover up the outfacing copies of books you've read and didn't like, or those written by people you don't respect.
9) Turn books you like facing outward, so people will see them.
10) Ask a bookseller what his or her the name of his or her most recent favorite title
The bonus activity, of course, is stand for a minute and wonder what it'll be like when there are no more bricks-and-mortar bookstores. If all but a few stores went away and those that remained charge a browsing fee, would you pay it? (To be refunded, of course, when you buy something.)
When I was bookstore hopping Saturday for "Save A Bookstore" day, I saw (and drew) a young woman who had piled a bunch of expensive graphic-design magazines on the table where she was drinking her $4 coffee. She was flipping through in a manner that said, "Just wanna see what's in here, then I'm going to leave without buying any." This, by the way, is exactly what someone I know in the graphic design business advises people to do if they can't or don't want to subscribe to these magazines.
The other thing I witnessed, over at the little independent store Mac's Backs in Cleveland Heights, was a conversation between a customer and proprietor Suzanne DeGaetano, in which the customer seemed to have a list of books she was interested in. She said she finds the books on Amazon.com, then always buys them in a real bookstore.
Incidentally, the books I bought Saturday: "One Breath Apart," a strange little illustrated book about medical students and their study cadavers, and a new Weight Watchers cookbook -- because Weight Watchers has great recipes.