Tag Archives: bookstores



A friend of mine and I were discussing my blog post from last Friday – Four THINGS I LOVE AND THINGS I HATE ABOUT BARNES & NOBLE – and we bantered around some thoughts about what makes a bookstore, a good bookstore, and what necessities must an ideal bookstore have.  So I present to you my dream bookstore and the necessities to make it such.


It seems silly but a good bookstore needs to have books, lots of them!  I want a variety of books both in depth and breadth.  There is no way to have every book, but there should be enough variety that readers can find both the latest new release and books that sometimes fly under the radar.  I love to discover the newest book by a favorite author, but I also get excited to discover a new, hidden gem.  It might be a new or new-to-me mystery series or something outside my usual reading parameters.  There is something magical about finding a hidden treasure of a new book while perusing the store shelves.

One definite requirement though would be if a new release is sold and it is part of a series, the first book in the series must be available.  I know that there are other anal retentive readers like myself who must read books in order.

Places to read, relax, and revel in books
This is one thing that independent bookstores do so much better than the big chain stores.  They are full of nooks and corners to curl up and read in.  My dream bookstore would be full of couches and chairs, window seats and benches, stools and ladders.  Readers want places to sit and enjoy books.  As my friend noted, books are expensive.  Readers need places to read first chapters to see if they want to purchase the book, and places to spread out potential purchases so the reader can weigh options and negotiate what to take home and what to return to the shelves.

The quirky bookstores that are cramped and crowded are perfect for discovering a hidden gem or secret treasure, but those aren’t my every day bookstores.  I want a store with space to read, to think, and to dream.

A café . . . or bar
To me books and a cup of tea with a sweet treat go hand in hand.   I love to curl up on the couch at home with a cup of tea and a good book.  There is something soothing and relaxing about the combination and I think it reminds us to slow down and enjoy the moment.  You can’t slam down a cup of a hot beverage, just as you can’t race through a book.  Both need to be savored and enjoyed.

I recently read an article about a bookstore-bar combination.  I would also enjoy that but since alcohol tends to put me to sleep, I might not make it through my books as quickly.  My husband however thought this was a great idea!

A community feel
I think bookstores should be a place where people can gather and learn new things.  I love to attend author signings; it is wonderful to meet an admired author but I find their discussions and reading interpretations add so much more to my appreciation of the book.  Bookstores should provide book clubs and discussion groups, children’s enrichment programs, and story times for all ages.  Bookstores can do even more.  Game nights, writers’ workshops, and even study groups can all find a home in a bookstore; it is a place that can be a gathering spot for those who love the written word and have a passion for what it says.

I think there is a very real dearth in our society for people of all ages to come together and learn, have intelligent and lively discussions, and share a love and appreciation for literature.


So let’s get rid of the toys, the fluorescent lighting, the hard wooden chairs, and the extraneous space fillers.  Bring back the bookstores.


So . . . to mix things up a little, every Friday I will list of four things.  Hope you enjoy and I would love to hear feedback.


I love bookstores.  I love to wander through the shelves, read the backs, admire the covers, revisit old favorites, and discover new opportunities.  I am the person that no less than three salesclerks approach me offering me a basket for my books; of course I turn them down.  How else am I able to control what I purchase?  I can only buy what I can carry!  Unfortunately, many bookstores are closing and finding good ones are few and far between.  Here are four that I miss.

The Borders in Schaumburg, Illinois was the bookstore of the early days of my marriage.  My husband and I would wander the shelves and then meet in the café for coffee (him) and tea (me).  The Borders is Los Gatos, California was where we took our children when they were small.  My son played with the Thomas the Tank Engine table for hours while I read.  Periodically, he would take a break from James and Henry and bring me a few books, usually Thomas ones, and we would sit and read together.  When his patience ran out, he would toddle back to the table.  This was also the Borders that I took him to meet Corduroy the Bear and he ran screaming around the store.  Good times . . .  The Allen, Texas Borders was one of the first where my children were of an age to go to the kids’ section by themselves while I perused the mysteries.  I was devastated when this chain went under.

Crown Books
What a great place to find cheap books!  Here I discovered the delightful Miss Zukas mysteries  and purchased my first three Harry Potter books.  Always a little disorganized, I truly felt I was on an adventure whenever I dropped in.

When my first child was born, I had the brilliant idea of taking him to the mall every month for the first year of his life to have his picture taken.  Fast forward to two more children later and I am hitting my head on the wall:  what was I thinking??  Three children, three and under, at the mall??  Waldenbooks . . . and McDonald’s (don’t judge) were my saviors.  If everyone would smile and be nice and get their pictures taken, we could have chicky nuggets and fries and ketchup, and THEN go to the bookstore!  Most of the time, we didn’t even buy any books; we would just sit on the floor and read.  Often they would pick out the same books we had at home, and just as often I would find other children sitting with me as I read.

Waterstone Books
Okay, technically Waterstone Books is still open . . . in the UK, but when I was a young girl, there was a Waterstone Books on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.  Although we lived a good three hours away and didn’t venture into the city but a couple of times a year, I always loved to wander in.  The bookstore looked like what I pictured an English bookstore to look; with lots of wood and formal reading chairs.  When you walked in, there was a hush of reverence, and although I probably imagined it, a faint whiff of pipe smoke.  The prices on the books were listed in pounds, as well as US dollars.  I don’t remember ever even buying anything there; it was just a place to look and smell and feel a part of somewhere special.