I Want A Coffin With Bookshelves

I love small bookstores. Local places with names like "The Book Nook", "The Other Bookstore", whatever. I've never gotten over the guilt when I moved out of Summit and my favorite bookstore closed three months later. I will buy from Barnes and Nobles, if I have to, but those places have no soul. They have Starbucks in them. . .what else do you need to know? I was in a used bookstore in Philadelphia where the shelves leaned noticeably and menacingly. I decided that when I go, I want a bookshelf to fall on me. These days I shop at Buchmeister Books. (973-701-1929 - give them a call and order something!)

Here's why:

1. They are a block away. I didn't intentionally move a block from a bookstore, but I'm not complaining.
2. Special orders. They love special-ordering books and they get them quick. Quicker, in fact, than the big chains. Do an experiment- go into Barnsie and try special ordering something. "House of Shards" by Walter Jon Williams is a good test, because the publishers refuse to admit that they don't have any copies left.
3. They love books. I love books. We have good conversation.
4. They are interesting people. The guy who owns the place used to be a mechanical engineer and this is what he's doing with his retirement. He heard Feynman lecture once. His wife loves travel. They aren't unmotivated teenagers working In retail hell.
5. Schatzi. They have the laziest dachsund on the planet. She's adorable though, and knows it. This dog will see me coming, waddle six inches towards me with a look of joy, and then roll over to be petted. When I am six feet away. Any bookstore with a dog is OK by me.
6. They remember my favorite authors. And get them to sign their new books for me. You can't beat that level of service.
7. It's a bookstore. If you don't understand, go away.
8. Everyone says they miss the old local grocery stores which got replaced by supermarkets, the old local hardware stores which got replaced by Tru-Value, the old this, the old that. Well, they'll get the bookstores over my dead body. With a paperback clutched in my hand.
9. Superstores massively overstock. That is to say, they have 100,000 books on the shelves and they will only ever sell some ridiculously small percentage. The rest go back to the publisher, who chokes on them. In the case of paperbacks, they are destroyed and the cover goes back to the publisher. This is a sin and a crime. It's also the reason why the price of paperbacks has gone up a buck fifty lately. It's also the reason why I have a miserable time finding books like The Element Of Fire by Martha Wells. Or any other book that's not the most recent, not famous, and very good. Maybe it's the net, maybe it's the video games, MAYBE IT'S SUPERSTORES PUTTING SIX TIMES THE BOOKS ON THE SHELVES AND NOBODY BUYING THEM.
10. It doesn't matter to Barnesie if they sell me $30.00 of books every week or two. For Buchmeister, it matters. And that means something.

Got a favorite bookstore? tell me about it!

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