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Something about independent bookstores brings out in me that part of my character that is peripatetic in nature.  I have used bookstores as touchstones throughout my life and, in no small part, my travels. Books and the places that house them are gateways to a richness of spirit and experience that can't be reduced to a certain sum of money. My local bookstore, Bent Pages, is one such place.

Bent Pages is an easy 25-30 minute walk from my house and is located on one of the main thoroughfares of Houma, Louisiana, a small town about 50 miles west and south of New Orleans. This bookstore has that "feel," that irreverent veneer that any serious bookstore needs to have. A recent post, from one of the owners, announces:

Bent Pages is in need of a few good readers. Applicants must like and be able to read, take abuse ranging from mild to sadistic, and not try to pay with a debit/credit card. If you or someone you know fits this catagory please come by the store and we will check your credentials. Also, we will be closed Monday July 4th, come get your books tomorrow or you'll be sorry.

My love of bookstores has evolved somewhat—I used to be obsessive in my expectations and quite snobbish when it came to booksellers; I wanted everything a certain way. Now, I approach each with an open mind and accepting heart. I’m more forgiving, more patient. Beyond being a sterile big box outlet, it now takes so much more to turn me off when it comes to bookstores. My loves range from the beautifully appointed to the musty, disorganized ramble of banged-together shelves of books organized by size and general appearance.

Take for instance another post on Bent Pages' Facebook page:

Do you have an uncontrollable urge to read? Then stop by the store. Do you know someone with an uncontrollable urge to read? Then force them at gun point to like our page. We won't tell, our secrets follow us to the grave. This week only come by the store and Molly will belittle the customer of your choice, but only if you mention this post.
How can you not know that you will somehow enjoy the experience of searching through thousands and thousands of books packed into the overflowing shelves of this wonderful small-town bookstore. Molly Bolden, one of the owners mentioned above, has a well-deserved reputation for not suffering fools gladly, but she is fount of knowledge about all things books. And, like many independent book sellers, this is a full-service outfit.

If books, as Emily Dickinson once wrote, are like frigates, then bookstore are like well protected ports of call. Some for tourists, some strictly business, some for explorers and lovers. Thinking back to stores I have lived near and visited, I have mixed feelings about the independents; although I support them without hesitation. Still, I sometimes wonder whether City Lights has lost some of its original charm? Has the Strand gotten too pretentious even for me? Is Powell’s renovating itself right off my must-visit list? Then again, everyone should visit Shakespeare & Co., The Tattered Cover, and Mona Lisait’s; you must have coffee in Selexyz’s Dominicanan venue, and take time to marvel at the architecture in Lello’s.

These places have that "feel"—that something I can't explain that makes me want to wander through the stacks, lose myself for hours wandering among friends, and—let's face it—take something to accompany me on my walk home.  

I find it difficult to articulate what exactly makes a bookstore attractive to me. A knowledgeable staff is a great plus, but an inattentive one I can overlook in certain circumstances. I find big box stores baffling and overwhelming, but then I actually prefer The Coop over Brattle Bookshop down the street—and the reasons are hard to explain, but it has something to do with that "feel."

A recent post for Bent Pages reminds me why I so enjoy visiting this place.

Please b[u]y the book Fallen Superheros for no other reason than I'm in it. I swear you wont regret this purchase.... well maybe a little but you'll get over it eventually.... after years of therapy and a flea dip.
At this point in my life I take my books seriously. My bookstores, not so much. I appreciate these gems for what they have as much as for what they don't. We all know there are less expensive and, at times, simpler methods of getting that particular volume we absolutely must have. But for me, if I can't take a walk and get my hands dirty in the process it almost isn't worth the effort.

Originally posted to P Carey on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Readers and Book Lovers and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow you have an independent bookstore (18+ / 0-)

    I have a thirty minute drive to the nearest bookstore.   . . . A Barnes & Noble.

    There uses to be a cool independent bookstore in Peoria Heights, Illinois called A House of Books, but they went out of business when Barnes & Noble and Borders moved into the Peoria market 20-25 years ago.  The folks at A House of Books were knowledgeable, and they never disappointed me when they hand sold their eclectic selection.

    "The working class mind is strange and unpredictable" -- Ty Lookwell

    by Illinibeatle on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:17:00 AM PDT

  •  None that I know of nearby any more. (15+ / 0-)

    I think even the 'secondhand' stores around are parts of chains, like 'books a million'.

    I've taken to using 'The Book Depository', which seems to have reasonable rates, as well as scarily fast shipping times, given that it's located in the UK.  I'd swear I've gotten things faster from it than I do from ordering online from bookstores located here in the States.  And their prices were better than Powell's for the books I was after.

    •  Speed! I know the feeling (12+ / 0-)

      There are times when I just have to have that book as soon as possible--don't know why, just have to. One great advantage of a good local book seller is that you can walk out with the book you wanted.

      No waiting.

      Then, as I get older, I have come to agree that he who stands and waits also serves; so I try to give the local bookshop as much business as I can. Although, let's face it, I'm not doing much in the way of commerce. My library card is much worn.

      •  Library Cards (5+ / 0-)

        The other day I noticed the lamination was seriously pealing up on mine, so used some Elmers glue to re-stick it. When I was next at the library I mentioned this, and the young lady just smiled and told me it really didn't matter. I wonder how decrepit the card has to get before they offer to replace it?

        The only bookstores near me are University bookstores, which contain fewer and fewer books every year, two used book stores, a Barnes and Noble (Border's, which was bigger, went out of business), and a rather nice Children's bookstore. Unfortunately I no longer have any little kids around to buy books for.

        So I resort more and more to the County Library (there are three of them near me), both regular books and browsing time, and ebooks, plus buying ebooks from iTunes and Amazon. Sadly.

        If your internal map of reality doesn't match external conditions, bad things happen.--Cambias

        by pimutant on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:28:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Books A Million is not (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      P Carey, mayim, RiveroftheWest, Aunt Pat

      a used book store, although they do have a large section of remaindered books that kind of look used....

      Still enjoying my stimulus package.

      by Kevvboy on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 02:53:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I know there are still some here (13+ / 0-)

    But I don't get downtown as often as I should, and since the next three weekends will be SERIOUSLY about course prep (first getting Sept 5-7 ready, then stocking the four enhanced online components of the course, and finally getting the two US to 1865 courses set for the rest of the semester -- and that's just THIS weekend), they'll have to wait.

    Fine contribution to the series, P.

    Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

    by Dave in Northridge on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:44:40 AM PDT

  •  My area is very difficult, high rent. (15+ / 0-)

    Barnes and Noble drove all its competitors out of business and bought into Borders, overhauled Borders and drove it out of business, too.

    The only bookstore remaining is a second-hand bookstore with one harried employee and no space between the shelves.

    I miss the independent bookstores in San Francisco. They were like boutiques.

    The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

    by Pacifist on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 06:56:36 AM PDT

  •  My local bookseller... (12+ / 0-) Joseph-Beth Booksellers.  The place reeks of awesome.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 06:56:52 AM PDT

  •  Bent Pages is a hoot. Your delightful romp through (13+ / 0-)

    ten other bookstores was a grand diversion.

    I used to work in the Business School branch of the Coop - but Wordsworth, just across the road, was my bookstore of choice for several years.

    I've never been to Powell's, but it's my Mecca (even if Amoeba Records is my Jerusalem). But I most enjoyed the visit to Selexyz, easily the most breathtaking of the stores you pointed us to.

    In fact, it's listed first in these pictures of the 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 09:14:08 AM PDT

  •  What a delightful read, P Carey! (12+ / 0-)

    Enjoyed reading this diary.  And I love the snarky people who own and operate Bent Pages!  I feel like flying right down there so I can hear Molly belittle someone.  (Wonder if we can pick politicians instead of customers?)

    Thanks for this midday pick-me-up! Tipped, rec'd, and posted on Facebook.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 09:51:34 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for this diary! I'm still mourning the (9+ / 0-)

    passing of the indie bookstore I Love A Mystery more than a  year ago.  Not only could I buy books I enjoyed but I could read them there, drink coffee, and talk about them with others of what amounted to a "club."  First Borders and Barnes & Noble have an eternal account to settle for their overwhelming of the indies, and then Amazon should roast forever in Corporate Hell for completing the destruction.

    I am,  however, encouraged by the occasional news item about indie bookstores becoming reestablished in communities.  Encouraged, but not confident.

    Thanks again!

  •  I have a perfect sense of direction, and never get (4+ / 0-)

    lost or confused about which way I'm headed.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 10:46:23 AM PDT

  •  I feel obligated (11+ / 0-)

    to mention Mysterious Galaxy Books, which is owned by my best friend.

    The original is in San Diego, and the new, second store is in Redondo Beach.

    But I am not objective about it.

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 10:50:23 AM PDT

  •  My favorite bookstore is Village Books (8+ / 0-)
    We carry new, used and bargain books, as well as sell ebooks on our website. The books on our shelves are carefully and personally chosen by Village Books' buyers right here in Bellingham. Years of experience with local customers and knowledge of local interests helps us carefully select the books you love. The books you see on our shelves are not automatically sent by publishers, nor are these titles chosen by someone in some remote office. If you don't see books on a topic of interest to you please let us know. Thanks to you, Village Books is able to continue keeping local readers in mind.

    Village Books is a place to meet your friends, talk books, or just while away an hour or two. If you're in the neighborhood come on in for a browse.

    Village Books is an integral part of my and my families lives. Thanks Chuck and Dee! And thanks to you P Carey for writing about independent bookstores. It's a challenging and changing economic time for them.

    Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

    by princesspat on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 11:16:55 AM PDT

  •  Booked Up in Archer City. TX (7+ / 0-)

    When I lived in Fort Worth about 15 years ago, I took a day trip to Archer City to visit Larry McMurtry's bookstore. What a trip ... I had almost written my master's thesis on McMurtry and my first serious "luv" was from Archer City, so I went out of curiosity but the bookstore stole my heart. LOL

    I don't remember if it closed completely or if it just downsized, but it was an amazing place.

    I miss real bookstores but I live out in a small town and mostly do the internet. sigh

    "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

    by CorinaR on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 11:35:56 AM PDT

  •  My favorite bookstore is Apple Valley Books ... (7+ / 0-)

    ... in Winthrop, Maine.

    From their web site:

    Founded in 1994, Apple Valley Books is a book-lover's bookstore.
    I'll vouch for that!
    ... Our vision from the beginning was to have a little place with a small but varied selection, carefully chosen. We have done that, and grown with the times, now able to order just about anything from our network of distributors and publisher contacts. We've earned a reputation for being able to find just about anything, but also keep current, and try to have a good selection of what is hot in the book world right now.
    They also have a great selection of books by local authors whom they promote enthusiastically.

    They have a used book section I've been terrified to inspect as I'm sure I'll walk out with my arms full and I haven't finished my project of getting all of my books out of boxes and into either a bookcase or a library sale.  

    Rita, if you're reading this, I promise: when the boxes are empty and there is room in the bookcases (something I am trying to ensure), I will treat myself to a stroll downstairs.  Promise!

  •  The Last Thanksgiving (6+ / 0-)

    I am making my debut as an author and with the help of Xlibris I just launched my first book and hope that some of my Kos friends will give it a look. It took me 3 years to write and 2 more to get it published and if you aren't fond of Republicans (or liars in general) you may like this story about a group of wily Native Americans taking back Cape Cod... Reviews (good or bad) are welcome.

  •  Here's a nice bookstore in downtown The Dalles! (7+ / 0-)

    Be sure to read about its history... oldest bookstore in Oregon!  

    Klindt’s Booksellers has been selling books, stationery, journals and office supplies since 1870... Klindt’s Books is a beacon of the community. Entering Klindt’s Books is like taking a step back in time. With the original floors, cabinets and bookshelves, you can browse new and classic book titles....
    I've shopped here for decades. Great place, great people; a fun place to shop.
  •  There is a bookstore, one town over (5+ / 0-)

    but I haven't warmed up to it. It is very small, has no chairs or tables at all (discourages loitering, in other words) and caters to tourists over serious readers and locals.

    I asked about readings/book signings and the manager said they aren't worth the effort, not being profitable unless the author is a celebrity. That seems like a short-sighted view, but then they don't have room for a reading, anyway.

    Life is short and time is cruel, but I can't help seeing the glass half-full. --Kevin Fisher

    by Sonnet on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 01:23:52 PM PDT

    •  Surviving as an indie bookstore (6+ / 0-)

      Sonnet, perhaps you are mistaken in attributing that motive to the booksellers. I don't know those booksellers, obviously, and you may be right.

      However, I think that the key word in your comment is "small." Space is at a premium in small bookstores. Do you set aside space and buy furniture for the customers who wish to read, write in their journals, work on their novels, or just relax?

      Or do you use the space to display books? You might go with a bigger inventory, or just display more books face-out instead of spine-out, since face-out books sell better.

      It is tough to survive as an indie bookstore, especially in today's climate, when an online bookseller is willing to sell below cost in a quest to achieve monopoly status. (At which time, perhaps, it will no longer be inclined to sell below cost.)

      As to author events: the indie bookstore I know has many author events, for both well-known and new authors. The less-known authors have this belief that strangers will turn up at their events just yearning to meet someone who has been published. It doesn't happen all that much. Famous authors have fans, many (not all) of whom might want to meet the author.

      Bookstores often make a profit if an author has a fan base. Not well-known? There is only a profit if the author generates enough of an audience of family and friends who want to buy books that night. No amount of promotion brings in a lot of strangers who want to meet that author, and, hopefully, purchase the book in the store. (Usually, about one person in four at an event buys the book.)

      My advice? If you like the bookstore's selection of inventory, or customer service (such as special orders), or suggestions from the staff, or ambiance, perhaps you should re-consider whether they really are the cold-hearted booksellers you suspect them of being.

      The indie bookstore I love is small. The way it works there is that people buy their books or pick up their special orders, and then walk over to the indie coffee shop and patronize them for a while. That's where the customers read and write their novels while consuming the products that keep the indie coffee shop alive.

      •  That is a really wise answer. (5+ / 0-)

        I might also suggest to Sonnet that if he or she can get up a group large enough to support an author appearance, I'll bet that store manager would be happy to host.  Bookselling is a low-margin business and most of the ones that are surviving are doing it by enthusiastically hosting the kind of author events their customers will actually attend.  In other words - the store owner may be stretched a bit thin and might love someone to take on setting up a few events, if you felt motivated....  

        Still enjoying my stimulus package.

        by Kevvboy on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 02:58:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree on these points. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mayim, RiveroftheWest, Brecht, True North

        I know several small bookstore owners and "labor of love" barely touches upon the work they do just to stay open.

        In a place like Houma (where Bent Pages is located) space is a bit cheaper than in New Orleans. But tiny bookspaces can sometimes make it through location (like next to a cool coffee shop) or clientel.

        I have given up on bookstores, but that is rare.

        •  So right about that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          P Carey, RiveroftheWest, forrest

          It is a labor of love.

          Indie booksellers are always trying to come up with some new ideas for things to do in the bookstore that customers will enjoy.

          My favorite bookstore had a celebration one Saturday for something or the other. They set up one author table in the kids' section, and one in the adult section. Authors were scheduled for one hour each that Saturday. The event did attract a lot of customers, and many did stop to chat with the author at the table at that moment. Authors liked it: they got to meet new people, unfamiliar with their work, and they could still take the kids to soccer practice later on or do other Saturday stuff with the family. I don't know how many books were sold, but it was an interesting event.

          I like the whole experience of walking into a bookstore and browsing around to see what the booksellers have brought in. I'm lucky: unlike Sonnet's experience in the little bookstore near her, the owners of my favorite shop bring in plenty of books that are cool and interesting, and that are outside my usual interests. I find about a zillion books I want to buy. I can't buy them all, but I buy some and get some from the library. (That's okay with them: everybody on staff is apparently a devout library patron, as well.)

    •  About catering to tourists (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      P Carey, RiveroftheWest, Brecht

      Sonnet, as I noted, I know one indie bookstore well. It doesn't cater to tourists, because it isn't on the tourist-track. The bookstore has been in that location for years. The owners are very familiar with what kinds of books are bought by the people who walk into the store.

      What you see on the shelves of an experienced bookseller is what customers of that store tend to buy, and not books that tend to sit on the shelf and then get returned to the publisher or moved into the sale bins.

      The bookstore I know has a huge volume of trade in special orders. It is a small store with customers with very diverse, often specialized, interests. The bookstore offers exceptional customer service (no additional charge!) to locate books, including extremely difficult-to-find books, and bring them in for customers.

      If the bookstore gets a few special orders for a particular book, the owners usually assume that this is a book that will probably appeal to walk-in customers. They'll give it a try on the shelf.

      I'm not saying that you should try to influence what the bookstore stocks in this way. But it is one way to influence buying decisions of booksellers.

  •  here in Denver (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mayim, RiveroftheWest, P Carey, Radiowalla

    for  decades we have been blessed with "the Tattered Cover"
    more than that...the conditions that Amazon employees are forced to work make sweatshops look like spas..

    "Opa..what is this word?" (my grand son Calvin)

  •   A Small Digression is needed (4+ / 0-)

    I read this post and scratch my head. Have you not heard of Andre Schiffrin and his book titled  “Words and Money”?

    It is no accident that almost all small bookstores were driven out the larger retail space of the United States, any more than say the thousands of locally owned general stores and hardware stores were exterminated by Wall-Mart.

    I shouldn’t have to explain the whole wall-fart business model or the utter joke Amazon is because they are both based on large amounts of what in this current modern world is nothing more than a cleaned up version of slave labor.

    Would you work in an Amazon sub-contracted warehouse?

    It not that some of the book stores lost over the last three decades might have been badly run and would have gone under anyway; its that far too many of those stores which ran on a 4%, or 6% or 8% or even 10% return on investment; in other words actually ran at a profit and in the black, could not survive the rising cost of the price of doing business in the USA or the outright underhanded demands from greedy landlords and greedy publishers who had suddenly changed business models as if over night.

    This came about because the more level playing field of the public market space the FDR Republic nurtured by giving millions a fair wage had forced businesses to see their survival dependant on providing a real service and meaningful useful products had been attacked in so many ways it is stunning when once stands back and truly takes off the blinders and views the big picture with real critical thinking. Wall-Mart is the tip of the iceberg.

    The business models that corporate giants follow is one of debt driven price drive down where the debt they pile up is the means by which they drive the smaller retailers or corporations out of business and then they have a strangle hold on a 90% market share and then use the threat of job loses and closing down to otherwise game the larger political commercial landscape as it suits them or not.

    Many times the attacking corporations and Wall Street criminals actually con the company they are destroying into taking on the debt that will eventually render it dead.

    It works because the system has become so thoroughly corrupted that the banks, Wall Street and the Hedge Funds all part take of this kind of business model all the time and have done so since the 1960s. In the 1960 they were called conglomerates, and by the 1980s “greed was good” and hedge funds looted at will.

    There is no industry in the U.S.A. where this model has not been used by a big player to drive a competitor out of business, and or buy them on the cheap.

    Sometimes a competitor is bought up because it has a lucrative government contract the bigger player just can not leave alone, other times its just to take the competitor out to increase market share. And yet many more times then hinted at by our rat fuck media the real intent was far worst. .  .

    Buy the company, sell off the pieces and then move the whole operation overseas because the goal the Hedge Funds guys and the billionaire families they serve had was to destroy the unions that industry once had to negotiate with.

    The whole “greed is good” hedge fund operation has been a moving con-job and cover job for destroying unionized cities and counties and the Social Democratic intuitions these industries and unions once supported. That this con job has been run for forty years one would think force many to see things in a very different light.

    Just go track down Mr. Schiffrin’s book and you will learn that all is not as it appears to be and that the publishing industry, the AM/FM Radio space, the book store retails space and then the Newspaper industry was set upon by corporate thugs working behind the scenes via hedge funds to silence what they viewed as a liberal culture and a liberal business model, because they saw newspapers as gadflies who might spill the beans and small bookstores as part the larger liberal college culture which was seen as a direct challenge to capitalism itself.

    And hence they have created a giant right wing media machine and in the process made sure something close to 250,000 newspaper employees from truck drivers to reporters were forced into early retirement or crappier jobs or the streets to die.

    When they set about to re-make the public media in this nation a servant to their class and their greed they lied and lied.

    Far too many times the hedge fund maggots, and their media whores like George Will  have said over the last two decades,   “these Newspapers or publishers or unionized bakeries or unionized factories need to run on a 20% return on investment.”

    Yet seldom are their non-union operations actually held to that standard. It seems a 6% or a 10% return is fine as long as it serves the right wing corporate machine one way or another….If you haven’t noticed Twinkies are back under a new corporate name baking them up, they just lost the union wage and benefits in the process. The bakers Union said they were offered a wage cut of more than 50% or else and so the cookie truly crumbles right before our collective eye.

    That the old newspaper industry was one of the most unionized industries in the United States should go a long way to explain why it was destroyed, and if you can not comprehend that obvious attack on millions of working people as a crime by right wing corporate thugs then you have become a useless brainwashed fool.

    Yes, many of those Newspaper could not be saved, but what Mr. Schiffrin points out in his book is that many, (maybe 4 out of 10 newspapers), were still running in the black and killed on purpose and our maggot fuck electronic media helped cover up the story before the newspaper industry even got a chance to modernized and embrace the web as an electronic free press owned and run on a local basis.

    Welcome to Fascist capitalism, where now the rat fuck lunatics of the right call public education “communism”.  I wonder how much worst it can get.

    •  I scratched my head, also (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, Brecht

      I have heard of Words and Money, and Mr. Schiffrin's previous book, The Business of Books. He is a good read, even if I find his analysis faulty at points, his misuse of statistics annoying, and his ideas for addressing the crisis--as he defines it--less than developed.

      I remember reading his claim that there were fewer than 30 bookstores in NYC, including chain stores. Like many of the numbers he throws around, I am not at all convinced they are correct. In fact, I know there are more than 30 bookstores in New York because I have been to more than that myself.

      Even given my hesitation, I am actually a fan of his and think he has something to bring to the table and some fairly innovative ideas (public cultural funding, free access to books, etc.), albeit they have little chance of gaining traction. His years of experience and involvement in the publishing industry gives him a perspective that we should all at least give serious attention to. But ....

      My outlook on books and independent booksellers is not from a vantage point of a publisher; my views herein are from the view of a lover of books.  I have lived through the transformation from publishing houses that cultivated writers and took seriously their public duties. Yes, there are fewer now; yes, it is much more profit-driven; yes, truck loads of shite gets published (and read).

      So what?

      For some of us, small independent booksellers are more than simply purveyors of those things with pages--they add value to communities and neighborhoods and, yes, our culture.  I picked a year out of the blue, 1901, and just looked for the bestselling books of that year. Of the top 10 read books that year, I haven't read any of them and recognized only one author in the lot.  Yet Colette, Henry James, Kippling, Mann, Wells, Zola, even Beatrix Potter for heaven's sakes, published that year.

      I have tried for some time to separate my view of the business of publishing with the product it produces. I know that is, to a certain extent, counterproductive, but it is the truth.

      So while I scratched my head trying my best to figure out how your quite well-thoughtout analysis of Schiffrin's arguments related to my diary--and I failed miserably. But that's okay--I so very much enjoyed your comment none-the-less.

      Thanks, and I for one hope to see you in these parts more often.

    •  Write a diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, P Carey

      Points are all valid.

      bezos buying the wash post....send the truth out to the warehouse and file it

  •  my favorite is Bruce's Browser (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mayim, RiveroftheWest, P Carey, forrest

    In Athol, MA -- western Massachusetts, with soda fountain and good reliable computer access in addition to great reads.

    Personally, I bemoan the loss of good bookstores.  My previous favorite, McIntyre & Moore died a few years ago.

  •  An embarrassment of riches (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    P Carey, RiveroftheWest, forrest

    Two wonderful Indies within 20 minutes of my keyboard:
    Chatham Bookstore in Chatham, New York, and The Bookstore in Lenox, Mass.  Both have been around forever. Chatham has new management; Matt in Lenox has been there for more than 30 years.  In both you can wander in and talk with humans. Wow.

  •  Right now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    P Carey, RiveroftheWest

    my independent bookstore is Book Culture, which has done well by me since I moved here. But I've been trying to buy fewer physical books, in anticipation of moving a few times in the coming years. Books are so heavy!

  •  Two charming bookstores in Philly . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    P Carey, RiveroftheWest

    Bindlestiff Books in West Philadelphia is a bright spot along the Baltimore corridor.  

    In Mt. Airy, Big Blue Marble Bookstore, cozy place with great childrens' collection.

    Both have interesting histories and have contributed to their communities.

  •  When in Durham (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, P Carey

    I buy books from The Regulator.

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