I came across an interesting article on Andy Ihnatko's blog this afternoon, discussing what he calls "Darwinist Consumerism" with regard to buying books. He alludes to a New York Times article about a community at odds over the introduction of--no, not a big chain, but--a new independent bookstore.
As a voracious reader of paper books (and, now that I have an iPad, a budding voracious reader of electronic books), I've often weighed the relative merits of bookstores of various flavors.
I'm pretty much a bookstore omnivore. I don't care much about the size, who owns it, whether the books are new or used, or whether I'm shopping online or in a brick-and-mortar store.
All I care about is where I am. If I'm on the couch, I shop Amazon
, or Powell's Books
, or one of the online iterations of Barnes and Noble
. If I'm out for a walk, I stop at one or more of the local bookstores
within several blocks of my house. If I'm driving to the other side of town, I stop at one of the big boys.
I'm still not enough of an e-book convert to read exclusively on my iPad. These days, I tend to weigh the pros and cons--ease of portability vs. aesthetic preference. Do I just want to read it, or do I want to have it on my shelf (or be able to lend it)?
As a consumer, I still very much feel the need for physical books. I'm just not so wedded to any of the physical aspects of the stores from which they come.