Wednesday, December 24, 2008

fish out of water

I realized something yesterday while I was doing a little last minute Christmas shopping. I was wandering around Barnes & Noble and suddenly it hit me - I hate bookstores.

I know this might come as a shock because I work in a library. One would think that since I make my living surrounded by books that a bookstore would be like heaven to me but sadly, it isn't the case.

Put me in a bookstore, crowded with holiday shoppers and woefully understaffed, and it will, in almost no time at all, drive me very nearly insane. Sure, the book displays are beautiful - multiple copies of brand new books all glossy and untouched - but I can't find anything. There is no discernible order to anything in bookstores. The cookbooks are near the travel books which are next to the comic books and...well, you get the idea. It makes absolutely no sense to someone who relies on the Dewey Decimal system. I usually end up wandering around aimlessly until some 20-something hipster with facial piercings asks if they can help me find a book.

"Probably not," I sigh. Store inventory is not the same as a card catalog.

19 comments:

alan said...

That's why, for the most part, I only read ebooks now.

Joe Allen said...

Borders has a fantastic computer based system that will let you search the inventory and will tell you if a particular title is in stock and if so, the exact isle,
rack and shelf where it isn't.

Allows you to eliminate one physical location from your search. Literally shaves seconds off the tedious search process.

Crucis said...

Before the advent of Borders, B&N and other large bookstores, we had smaller B. Daltons and equivalent stores. I knew exactly where everything I liked was located. I could go in and be out in minutes.

But---every so often, they'd completely rearrange everything. SF that previously was on the left wall was not in the rear in stacks. Mysteries, that had been in stacks three rows from the front were now on the right wall.

I HATED it!!

I stopped going there and began to order from Amazon because of those tactics. Yes, I know why the stores did it. That doesn't mean I had to accept it. I like Borders because they have not (yet) rearranged their shelves.

BillH said...

Breda, did you know that more people use esperanto than Dewey?

Until the Bredalucion really gets going and Barney & Opel start using the DDS, I'm going to continue to rely on Amazon. ;-)

Merry Christmas from Idaho

Earl said...

Not being in a shopping fury, I can go and browse like the bull elk in the back forty - but to find exactly what I want when I want - Amazon.com and wait three days (I'm cheap). Since I haven't found reason for supermarket shelving I don't expect book stores to be better in any way - just think of all the great books I will miss - and I work in a library and buy for it monthly.

Hunter said...

The only time I find to enter a mega-box bookstore is when there are no used bookstores. And when there is a used bookstore, as long as the shelves are arranged by subject, I can happily take a knee and peruse the shelves for hours. Just ask my wife.
Hunter
Ketchikan, AK
Merry Christmas

Old NFO said...

LOL- that could be your next career Breda! Organizing the book store industry! OF course I'd recommend some Valium before you start :-)

rickn8or said...

I try to stay out of the big-box bookstores. One of these days I'm going to succumb to temptation and wind up arrested for trying to steal the "Religious Fiction" sign.

Merry Christmas and a Happyful new year.

reflectoscope said...

Big box bookstores... hmm. I try to avoid them. We have a pretty decent local one here - in a town of about 20000 - who will happily bring something in if they don't have it.

Robert said...

Heh. I'm the exact opposite. I can't find a damn thing in my university's library (unless it's some kind of reference text, which are all in one place near the entrance). On the other hand, plunk me in the middle of damn near any book store (with one or two notable exceptions) and I'll be able to find what I'm looking for inside of ten minutes.

Julie said...

last minute Chrissy shopping ... I feel for you !

Wishing you a great Christmas ... stay safe!

DirtCrashr said...

I don't like bookstores either - it IS random in there, and not much about shooting and a lot of pompous liberal Historical Fiction disguised as fact - like "Armed America".
And the workers have an intellectual chip on their shoulders, as though they were something other than former record-store employees...
But Merry Christmas anyhow to them and God bless us everyone.

Ritchie said...

If I had to guess, I'd guess that the store structure mirrors the mental structure of their optimum customer. Just how would one research that? So sad, teh fall of teh civilizations. When a storedrone asks "Can I help you?" I sometimes reply "It's too late for that, but I would like a (item)". Some of them get it.

WV: tramolo singing on the trolley! Come ON, tell me this is random!

Christina LMT said...

I love any bookstore, as long as I have time. If I want a particular book I rely on Amazon.com, otherwise I like to browse.
Libraries will always be my first love, though.

Lydia said...

One of the few things I miss about Ohio...Half Price Books.

Large signs, great deals...and such fun to waste hours in.

Ted said...

I had a mouthful of soda when I read this. Now I have a mess to clean up. :-)

You sound exactly like my Mom the librarian, and I mean that in a good way.

Personally, I enjoy bookstores the same way I enjoy libraries: at leisure, or not at all.

Weetabix said...

I think big box book stores cater to people whose reading is like that sort of environment - browsing & skimming, not to people who like to actually read. (and I split that infinitive on purpose, so it's OK).

abebooks.com for me.

Anonymous said...

My personal favorite is the Big Chain Bookstore that shelves works based on the author's first book. So if they wrote one novel and the rest are nonfiction histories, guess where you have to go look? You guessed it.

LittleRed1

og said...

This annoys me no end. I would like very much to smack the crap out of the people responsible for this. Use ISBN. Use Dewey. Use SOMETHING, but for the love of G-D don't let marketers place the damned books.