14 June 2009
at home this weekend. and as I flipped through the newspaper, I saw an ad for a new bookstore, legacy books, "the largest independent bookstore to open in decades in your community!"
too bad it is about an hour away for me - not exactly a spontaneous thing to do on a lazy sunday afternoon, especially when one has a 3 hour drive later on. but if i am ever in the area, i will definitely check it out.
but it made me start thinking.
about my perfect bookstore if I were to ever open one.
I'll be the first to admit that I never buy a new book from a store because I can always get it cheaper with free shipping on amazon. Always. The only exceptions are magazines, because the cost of buying these online never justifies shipping. Especially those foreign ones. Which is why I am always more than happy to shell out cash for these at bookstores.
But I also rarely buy a new book in general because I'm much more obsessed with the old. And I spend an insane amount on worn and used books.
The fate of the independent book store... I love them, but how can I support them? And how could I start a bookstore that would actually survive?
It would not be a general bookstore. It would be very specific. I think museum gift shops have the area of art books covered, so I don't see any reason to mess with that. But a cookbook bookstore. Or a language bookstore.
Oooo, the languages!
I would have both used and new books. Definitely. It would have 3 main sections: language learning books, books in a foreign language, and a children's version of the previous 2. In addition, I'd carry audiobooks, cd programs, workbooks, textbooks, etc. - all those things used for language learning. (and possibly: magazines and travel books.)
But most exciting, I'd reach out to the community. I'd open up my bookstore to host meetup language groups. People can gather in my little bookstore to practice their new language! And I'd eavesdrop and soak up as much as I could.
I'd contact all the cultural groups in the community, and offer them some space if they wanted to hold an event. Can you imagine? One week it might be greek, the next, german, and the next, japanese, etc. Anything to promote a language, I would be game! However, I would ask that they open it to the public so other people can join in on the fun.
I'd also have a giant cork board where people can post ads looking for translators and tutors.
And maybe a coffee shop inside. With pastries. Rotating from a different culture each time.... hmmm.... Or maybe not rotating. Or maybe I'd sell pastries from a different ethnic bakery each time. Or maybe I'd bake it myself. Or... well, I think I'm deviating into my "dream patisserie", and that is not the topic today. Hmmm!
Also very important: I'd have the most comfortable couches ever in the store. A bookstore is not a bookstore if the customers can't happily sink into a nice chair.
And of making money and staying in business.... of course I have not thought of that! since it's just a fun dream right now, i don't need to think about "reality." and now that i think about it, i'd be happy if it were a library, or even an archive collection like the ransom center... I'll just file this one under "future possible plans for the far, far, far, far, far future" in my to-do list in life.