Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Leaving a Bookstore Empty-Handed

I've patronized quite a few bookstores in my life--the good, bad, ugly.  And there have been a couple from which I've rarely managed to leave empty-handed.  A word about them in a moment.

These days--the experience is much more rare.  The only large store near us now (a BAM) has a lot of books; I just don't want very many of them.  Joyce and I go there to browse occasionally, but the browsing rarely leads to a meal.  Bestsellers--teen vampire novels--memoirs by celebrities--political screeds--lots of games and cards and other clutter.  We prefer our little local shop, the Learned Owl in Hudson, Ohio.

There's a Barnes & Noble about forty minutes away, too.  Sometimes we go there and are more likely to leave some cash behind (larger, more interesting inventory).  But not always.  Not nearly always.

It wasn't always thus.  Near us were two very good stores--one an independent (Booksellers), the other a very well stocked Border's.  Unfortunately, they were close to each other, and Booksellers died first, in 1997.  A shame.  Joyce and I routinely went there for a half-dozen years or so, every Friday night after supper.  (They also, by coincidence, had a great apricot scone.  Coincidence, mind you.)  I'm surprised we didn't--by ourselves alone--keep them profitable.  But we didn't.

And then our Border's went the way of the entire chain when it folded in 2011.

Here in Lenox, Mass. (where I'm visiting my mom), there's a great little independent shop--The Book Store.  I'm not there a lot--a few times a year--but I'm certain I've never left without something in hand.  They don't have a large inventory (it's a small space), but they have a very interesting one (to me).  Yes, they have bestsellers, but they also have books you haven't heard of, ones you've read about somewhere but have seen nowhere else, lots of literature and history (the good stuff!).

Today I was there--intending to buy nothing, just accompanying my older brother, who also loves the place.  And then I saw on their Shakespeare shelves a little book called The Boy Who Would Be Shakespeare: A Tale of Forgery and Folly, 2010, by Doug Stewart--about the prevalence of Shakespeare forgeries in the late 18th century.  Oh, and this particular copy was signed by the author.  And I now have a charge of $26.50 to deal with ... later.

And, once again, I left The Book Store with a package in hand and a new debt--a debt of many layers, many meanings.

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