Brick & Mortar

Posted by Lisa L. on Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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Not sure I'll ever get used to bookstores--real, physical bookstores--being referred to as "Brick & Mortar" stores. I have been a voracious reader since the age of 4. Growing up, every single week I'd take my allowance and go to our local bookstore, Encore Books (where I later worked in college) and buy as many books as my allowance could get me.

I am a lifelong book hoarder. Somewhere in storage in upstate Pennsylvania I still have roughly 3,000 books which I will probably have to sell because now I live in a rowhome with the Sergeant and he doesn't really like the idea of using books for furniture. So I never thought I would be one of these people who worshipped their e-readers and in fact I was resistant to the very idea of e-readers when the first generation Kindle came out.

But my husband, who likes things to look "streamlined" at home (Thanks, Marine Corp) bought me a second generation Kindle all the way back in 2009 and now I can't live without it. I love it. I love it more than most things that I own. It is sleek and light, fits right in my purse and I have access to thousands upon thousands of books any time, any place with just one click! And I have to admit, it completely relieves me of the burden of trying to find places in my tiny home for all my new books. This past Christmas, my boss bought me a Nook tablet which is also fabulous. All the advantages of a Kindle and you can surf the internet as well! I have some books on my Nook and some on my Kindle and I use each device interchangeably. Although I have a very difficult time prying the Nook out of my four year old's hands since she loves playing Angry Birds on it.

Anyway, I almost never buy an actual book anymore. Even if I see one in the grocery store or pharmacy that I like, I will whip out my Kindle and order the ebook version. It is usually much cheaper anyway.

But I still love the bookstore. I love being surrounded by all the books. I love picking them up and flipping through them, feeling their weight in my hands. I love seeing all the covers. I love the way bookstores smell and the quiet that can still be found within their walls. Also, I love going with my daughter to the actual, brick and mortar bookstore because she has so much fun. Kids are way more visual than adults and so for her to be interested in a book, she really needs to see it and hold it in her hands. Going to the bookstore now and then is the one of the only ways to keep her interested in books. We always have a blast. She pulls books off the shelves excitedly and asks me to read them to her. After we've read 7 or 8 books, she gets to choose one that she wants to take home, where we'll read it a good twenty or thirty times before she tires of it.

We bought this one in January and she loves it!

So for this past mother's day when the hubs asked me what I wanted to do, it was a no-brainer. Take a family trip to the bookstore! The hubs, in his infinite wisdom got me some gift cards. Normally, I would spend them online to download books to my nook but since we were going to spend the day in the bookstore, I figured I'd go all old school and buy some real books! And yes, I break my new-book-ban of 2012 if I get gift cards!

That is actually the one I go to!

Since the hubs was along, I got to very briefly browse the adult sections of the store and here's what's new. First of all, the center of the store where they used to have current affairs, religion, astrology and such has been replaced with shelves and shelves of toys. Apparently Toys R Us threw up in Barnes & Noble. (Yes, we shop at B&N. Although I've long been a fan of independent bookstores and worked at Gene's in the late 90s, they are few and far between now so we are forced to shop at the chain store.)

Second, I hadn't realized just how much more expensive real books are compared to e-books. I mean I knew they were but I haven't bought an actual book in so long that it was quite jarring. I got the same amount of gift cards for my birthday a couple of months ago and I used them to buy books for my Kindle. For the same amount of money, I was able to get 7 e-books but only 3 regular, physical books. I mean I know that the cost of producing an actual book is way higher than the cost of "producing" an e-book and honestly I'm not sure how I feel. I love real books and as an author, I want real books to survive but as a reader, getting 7 books for the price of 3? You can't beat it. I'm conflicted.

Prepare for rant: The only thing I really want to say about that is shame on publishers for charging between $12.99 and $14.99 for a book that costs $15.95 in paperback. It's really not necessary to jack up your e-book prices that much. $9.99 is where I draw the line for an e-book and quite frankly, even that is a bit high. If you expect me to pay $14.99 for an e-book, well screw that, I might as well just buy the real book.

Finally, there was a totally new section of books in the bookstore called Paranormal. So hats off, Paranormal writers. I've been going to that store for years, been going to lots of bookstores for years and I've worked in bookstores for years and paranormal has never had its own section! At least not in these parts! Perhaps New Adult will be next . . .

So do you still go to brick & mortar book stores or are you an ebook convert? Or a little bit of both?

Tags: books  bookstores 

About Me

Lisa Regan I am the author of Finding Claire Fletcher, Losing Leah Holloway, Kill For You, Hold Still, Cold-Blooded and the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling Detective Josie Quinn series (Vanishing Girls, The Girl With No Name, Her Mother's Grave). You can email me directly at



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