An abiding dream of mine is to open a wee bookshoppe when I’m a little old lady. So, I’ve always been partial to books on books and bookshops. Here’s an article on the pseudo-payola policies of a major bookstore chain the UK.
What it reveals doesn’t come as a surprise, but a saddening summary of how things are. The mouth of the beast devours, man. When I visited Waterstone’s in London early this year, I wouldn’t say it definitely had an ultra-depressing ‘superstore’ feel to it (though I may be conditioned by the only two worthwhile bookstores in Singapore being superstores). It just didn’t generate the homeliness and excitement of discovery that Foyles (also in London) or Book Soup (in LA) could. I swear I could feel myself morphing into a kid in a candystore while in the latter.
The most impressive superstore, structurally, would be the Barnes & Noble in LA, at The Grove at Farmers Market. But while it had the elements right (comfort, selection, provision of everything a browser would want), I didn’t feel a tinge of wistfulness when I walked out.
Unfortunately for whoever, I’m not the kind of person who would exclusively get her fixes from a particular bookstore out of loyalty — price is an important factor for me (though now I factor in transport costs into that too) — so I can see why what’s detailed in You’ve Got Mail has been happening all over the world.