Brick and Mortar vs. The Online World

January 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm (In So Many Words, Reviews, The Whim) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Inspired by: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/14/independent-bookstores-amazon_n_1201676.html?ref=books&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000008

Featuring the Best Bookstores inTexas

Despite being an Amazon.com affiliate, I truly believe in being a patron of a brick and mortar bookstore.  In my mind, online sales are a necessary evil for the true bibliophile who cannot afford to travel toWalesfrom theUnited Statesto pick up a copy of the next book in the Scarlet Pimpernel series.  (I shop abebooks.com every three or four months for this exact purpose.)  Online sales are for that student looking for the cheapest textbook because its that or don’t eat for a month, and where not eating for a day or two is fathomable, not eating for a whole month would counter the act of trying to improve your mind.  I shop online if I’m gravely ill and cannot expose my disgusting germs to the outside world for a few weeks and am dying to read that biography that is just obscure enough that my favorite stores wont have it in stock for months anyway.  I shop Amazon.com for Paul Collins books on the regular, because they are readily available there, but most his stuff is out of print and isn’t carried by Barnes & Noble (I really like the one at the Woodlands mall) and rarely seen at most used stores.

For this reason, I am signing paperwork on Tuesday to be an Event Coordinator at my local Half Price Books (Humble), my favorite family owned bookstore in the country and the easiest store to shop inTexas.  I’d like nothing more than to generate traffic at a place I love while mostly still being a stay at home mom, as this job is only 20 hrs. a month and is a bit like a consulting gig.

That being said, Half Price Books isn’t the only great bookstore inTexas.  I’m also a huge fan of Murder By the Book inHouston, mostly for the fact that they have become world famous and still manage to be the coziest place in the world.  Murder By the Book is right around the corner from a Half Price Books, and though I stop at HPB first, if they don’t have the latest and greatest in stock yet, I have no problem popping over and buying a current pub if I have to.  The real life story to this hypothetical scenario being when Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Angel Game was first released.

Murder By the Book is great, but they are a bit of a drive for me.  So when I want the same cozy atmosphere, comfy chairs, and intimate shelving units, but not the drive, another favorite place for me is Good Books in the Woods in Spring, off Oak Ridge, almost to the Woodlands.  It’s a quiet little gem tucked away literally in the woods, a house turned bookstore.  They have their own book clubs and writing workshops.  They specialize in first editions, signed copies, and all that is old and interesting, but there are some run of the mill things you can find there too.  It’s a bit more expensive than HPB on most days, but sometimes worth it if HPB doesn’t happen to have what you’re looking for and you’re too impatient to wait for it to be shipped to you.  I say “a bit more expensive,” but their prices are always reasonable, I’m just used to my beloved HPB clearance section.  (Visit Good Books in the Woods here: http://www.goodbooksinthewoods.com/)

As I’m headed back home, often severely hungry because I’m always hungry, on the southbound side of 45 you can also find Once and Again Books, often mistaken as an HPB because its quite similar.  Honestly, I only shop there because its next to my favorite food joint: The Olive Oil, fabulous Greek Food.  And it’s on the way home.  But its nice, its clean, and in good order.

Now for myDallaspeeps:

I’m absolutely, positively in love with the Recycled Bookstore inDenton.  The entire shopping experience happens, literally, in layers.  There are stairs and cubbies and closets, all brimming with organized, clean, lovely used books.  They also function in an old school fashion and will negotiate prices with you, something most stores just can’t do anymore.  For my every day Dallas shopping, I stick to all the near by Half Price Books locations peppered all over the city, but on special day trips up the highway, a bookstore in an old Opera House is just the thing.

As for Dallas Half Price Books locations (and there are quite a few!), my favorites are of course the flagship for its enormity and coffee shop, and the Cedar Hill location for having been my college haunt and my first introduction to Half Price Books at all.

Now, Texans, really… with all these just moments away, why would you go online to shop unless you absolutely had to?  Amazon.com, abebooks.com, hpbmarketplace.com, all those fabulous .com bookstore – are tools when you need them, not your first go to.

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1 Comment

  1. Bookish Hobbit said,

    I would rather go to brick and mortar stores than relying solely on the Internet sites for all my book needs.

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