Monday, May 19, 2008

So it goes

I apparently have lost the ability to shop for books at a physical bookstore. I notice this on a recent trip to Seattle and confirmed it on my trip to Baton Rouge. I still enjoy poking around bookstores and make a point of doing so when I get the chance, having no bookstores at home, but I have lost the ability to find new novels to read at a store. Moving from working at a Barnes & Noble and being surrounded by books and book people on a daily basis to a location with no bookstores, I was forced to change the way I selected books. Now I am so used to reading magazines such as the former Book and now Bookmarks, the online version of the New York Times Book section and its like, BookBrowse (back when it was free) and blogs, not to mention the hundreds of comments left by readers at Amazon, before I select a book, that I cannot chose one now without that input.

I find this disturbing as I spent many a happy afternoon poking around bookstores (long before I worked in one) and coming home with piles of treasure. Indeed, I started working at B&N simply to get the employee discount and help fund my book habit. This trip to Baton Rouge I set myself a task - to find a book to purchase at B&N. How hard could that be for a bookaholic. The first thing that I noticed was that every book that I picked up I had either already read a review of it or it was by an author that I had already read and liked. Obviously these could not count as being found in a bookstore. Remembering numerous discussion in the blogosphere about the enticement of covers, I endeavored to find a cover that I found appealing. Every singe one of the books that I was drawn to had a cover with some sort of book theme and worse, were all books that I had already read about. After several attempts at this exercise (my hotel was conveniently located next door) I gave up.

I guess I have to accept the fact that my selection process has fundamentally changed. I don’t know that my new selection process is better for all the additional input or whether I am missing out on spontaneously finding unexpected pleasures, but change is inevitable. So it goes.

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