Reading Liberally book club discussed Paul Krugman's The Conscience of a Liberal, which I highly recommend) and a couple of us had our copies of the paperback but two members had eBook versions. Maggie has an iPad and Fred has a Kindle. They're very different devices, but both remarkable. I don't think I want an iPad, but a Kindle or Nook would be great. (My book, In an Uncharted Country, will soon be released in a Kindle edition . . . )
But back to the subject of bookstores . . .
Nearly 5 years ago I wrote a post on this blog about local bookstores: Bookstores in the Valley. It was about the one used bookstore and one new bookstore in our town, and other local book-buying options. Things have changed a lot. In that post I wrote about the Bookstack and Final Draft, two stores on Beverley St. in Staunton, both of which have since closed. I wasn't happy about those losses, but somehow the bookstore scene isn't completely dead around here--probably because the nearest Barnes & Noble is 40 miles away, in Harrisonburg (the one in Charlottesville is about the same distance, but the mountain you have to cross to get there makes it seem farther).
I spend most of my book-browsing time in The Sacred Circle on E. Beverley. It's a little store that also has a large selection of fair-trade gift items in addition to its spirituality-focused inventory of books. There are current events and literature selections, too, but the books on religion and consciousness are what make the store special.
But I also spend time in the BookWorks on W. Beverley, a shop that concentrates just on books and magazines, and has a somewhat wider selection of fiction (although a lot of that is genre fiction that doesn't appeal to me).
And then there is Barrister Books, tucked away behind the courthouse on Lawyer's Row. This is a beautiful used bookstore that I visit frequently. Unlike the chaotic used bookstores (like Final Draft was), Barrister Books is quieter, well organized, and carries only better books -- don't go looking for trashy paperback novels.
But that's not all. We've also seen other bookstores pop up: Stone Soup Books opened in Waynesboro a couple of years ago. It's claim to fame is a cafe, a cozy atmosphere, and the fact that used and new books stand together on the same shelves. And just today I learned that another bookstore, John's Book Nook, opened earlier this year in Waynesboro. It is apparently a used bookstore. I haven't been there but I plan to visit soon.
And there's also Over the Moon Bookstore & Artisan Gallery which opened a few months ago in Crozet, just over the mountain from Waynesboro. It's a beautiful little bookstore (they're hosting me for a reading in two weeks) with a great selection.
In that post five years ago, I also mentioned the bookstores in Lexington-- Books & Co. (nice inventory of new books) and The Bookery (fun and chaotic, new and used), both of which are still alive and, as far as I can tell, doing well.
I suppose I should mention the other options, as well: Books-a-Million, which relocated from The Mall to the Target shopping center outside of Waynesboro. It's awful, although they do have a good selection of magazines. That's the only reason to go there. And the Barnes & Noble in Harrisonburg and Charlottesville are just like B&Ns everywhere. Okay. Not great. We also have the Green Valley Bookfair, which is unique. I confess that I shop there, but I feel guilty about it.
Considering that bricks & mortar bookstores are supposed to be dead, that is an incredible selection of bookstores. Suddenly I feel like buying a book. As if I needed any more . . .