Two of the nicer things that have developed in my life time sit right down the hill from my house, a short bike ride away. B&N and Borders, the bookstores that I use for my library. Each one has unique qualities, Borders less choice better coffee (I like it blended mild, not bitter) and B&N tremendous selection but unfortunately always air-conditioned. Why they keep it so cold I can’t figure out. I’ve asked the management but they all shrug and just pull up their collars.
In each store I have developed a special filing system to keep my in process reading (sometimes as many as up to 5 books) safe between visits. Certain sections of both stores are actually quite secure for storage since the stores only restock their shelves every two weeks. In B&N, strangely enough, the fiction shelves don’t get looked at very closely. They also seem to check the bottom shelves less often. While in Borders the Science Fiction shelves are a good place to hide a book. It seems that there are less and less new works, other than comic book and graphic novels, coming out so again the section gets less restocking. In both stores, the best place to put a book away is down low, usually the second shelf from the bottom, and at the end so that the other books cover it up.
I know I should feel guilty about this strategy but frankly I can’t afford to buy everything that is available to read. And there is a hell of a lot to read these days with some estimates putting the number of books published in the US in 2007 at close to 100,000. So I compensate by always buying something to eat and drink and occasionally buying the book/mag/cd that I know I really will keep using once it’s home and in my own library. Last year, my conscience cost me about $500 but damn it is so worth it.
So, here’s the deal, if you go into one of these two stores and happen to pick out a book that has the flap inserted to mark a page, it might well be mine. When you are finished, just remember to put it back where you found it, please. That’s if you decide you don’t need it for yourself.