Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Browsing: Brick & Mortar, Online, Libraries.

 Yes, do! Then let me know so I can link to it in mine.

Ruby from Ruby's Reads wrote an excellent post regarding her feelings on browsing. Please check it out HERE.

In response to her question, Do I feel that online browsing is significantly different than in a bookstore?

When I browse in a bookstore, I love to be around all of those books!  I love to see the covers, pick them up and physically touch them.  I love to read the first page, thumb through them, maybe scan a passage or two to see if the writing and story will interest me.  I enjoy going to a section of the store to see what is new on the shelves.  So yeah, I do love to browse in a physical bookstore. 

Now I'm trying to stick with the question, which relates to browsing not buying.  However, it's very difficult for me to go into a bookstore and not buy any books.  If I walk out of a book establishment without a book in hand, I feel kind of...empty.  But buying books can be expensive and I'm super choosy about which books I am going to spend my hard earned money on.  I also don't have a ton of room, so for me to purchase a book, it's a big deal. 

Unfortunately, I've been disenchanted and frustrated with some of the larger chain mortar and brick bookstores.  I'm not going to badmouth any particular store or employee personally, but let's just say I have a lot of odd stories about bookstores.  This is just MY personal experience, but maybe it adds to my reluctance of going into bookstores.

This is when my practical voice reminds me that I can find a lot of the books cheaper online or better yet, free at the library.

Granted, online I don't have any of the perks I have in a bookstore.  However, I can still do quite a bit. I can find the first book in a series so that I can start from square one if I choose. I can see what else the author has written. I can read what other people thought about books. I can browse through an author's older work, not just new releases. I can look at people's lists and I can get lost in book cyberspace. I always, always, always discover some book of interest to put on my wishlist.  All this at my fingertips.  As for that empty feeling of walking away without any books.  I don't experience it when I browse online.  Maybe because I'm not physically handling the books.  I can simply leave the site.  I never had them in my hand to begin with, they were only in a virtual shopping cart that will still be there intact the next time I visit. 

My very favorite place to browse for books?  The library.  It is the best of both worlds.  I can physically touch the books and they're free.  I know libararies weed out older books and those that don't get circulated frequently, but in my library I always seem to discover a treasure.  More often than not, I can find the first book in a series, sometimes even if that first book was written over 10 years ago.  Sure, I can't keep them forever, but it's okay.  I don't have to be choosy or picky or worry that I spent my money on a book I won't enjoy.  I can still do all the things I can do in a bookstore and then I can take them home and read them and hold them and love them before returning them to let someone else do the same.  I can start them and if they don't hold my interest, I can return them.  If I'm slow to read them I can renew them.  What I also like is the "green" factor of libraries.  One book, many people.  If I do happen to have a question at the library, I can either look it up on their computer or ask a librarian who always seem to have the answer within a few strokes of the keyboard.

So that's some of my browsing experiences and thoughts. What are yours?


Rubita said...

This is a great post and I agree with all of it, but...I still want the best of both worlds. I want to read my book and own it, too. Which is a problem because the part of your argument that I find the most effective is the "green" aspect. I can only say that I buy used and I swap or donate books that I've read and don't want to keep. Anything I have on my shelves is something I think I'm going to want to have around for rereading or that I couldn't bear to part with. I think you're also really fortunately in your library. They're not all as well-funded and the situation is only going to get worse--two libraries in my area have already closed.

Jenny said...

I'm just like you! I love being surrounded by all those books and seeing the pretty covers in person (I always find they look so different in person than they do on line, they usually have a fun printing method - metallic inks, spot varnishes, etc), and I feel empty and disappointed if I leave without buying anything. I will say you make a good point about browsing online and being able to easily access all the other titles written by a particular author and it's just easy in general to find what you're looking for:) I really need to get a library card though...I think my wallet would appreciate it:)

Jennifer said...

I've never thought about it before, but I do get a sense of loss when I leave a bookstore. I don't (usually) get that feeling when I close out my browser. I do love that feeling of being surrounded by books in my library or the bookstore. Much to my surprise, though, I'm choosing ebooks more and more these days.

A big plus to shopping online are the reviews. I'm the gullible type to fall for all the great blurbs in the bookstore. :)

Missie, The Unread Reader said...

I completely agree with your points here Pam. I love browsing in a book store and it is hard for me to leave empty handed.

My only wish is that my local library was better stocked. The YA section is half a wall long and all the books are super old. I feel like it is more of a museum than a library. I once went in and asked it they had this book by a popular YA writer and the librarian's blank stare made me feel like I was nuts. LOL

Karen said...

I love browsing at the store and peeking at the last page (gasp!). I will usually impulse buy more at the brick & morter store than online.
I do buy most of my books on line though. They're cheaper. Sorry but that's the fact and I wouldn't be able to read as much as I do buying them all at B&N.
As for which store I always find this amusing. I love my B&N, I hated my Borders. I don't think we can generalize because each store is different with different employees. Someone else may have the exact opposite opinion as to the stores than mine.
I also think it's funny when they say not to shop the BIG stores. My B&N is hanging by a thread so I feel like I help them by shopping there. They are great workers and the employees shouldn't be penalized.
Another thing authors have told me that has changed things is ordering bks that aren't in stock. it has always been easier to just order from Amazon but it was pointed out to me that there is only so much room in the store so they don't stock every book. If you start requesting it - then they may start stocking it. Win for the author. I try to to keep that in mind now and order from the store if it's a favorite author.
OK - I'm done rambling :-)

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