I’ve been spoiled for the past number of years at my old job with two (2) Barnes and Nobles within a five minute walk. Now, the only bookstore walking distance is Borders. So, I don’t judge, I’m willing to give it a try. Just because I’d never really perused one before didn’t mean it wasn’t sufficient.
I’ve been there numerous times since, and I have to say, it’s totally amateur hour stuff. First of all, Barnes & Noble has a $30 membership which gives you discounts on EVERY BOOK. This provides me with a sense of receiving a bargain for the exorbitant price of most books and assuages my guilt about spending money that’s best spent elsewhere. Borders, however, has the free drug-store type of “If you spend X, you get X in the mail!” This sort of logic never worked for me. There should be an actual discount. Hypothetical amounts reached is not the same as paying a price below the sticker on my book.
Putting price aside, their “bargain” area in each section of the store is hidden and even if you find it, the selection is pitiful. In B&N, there is a designated area for the Bargain Books that can be seen from the opposite end of the store.
Also, I like classics, and Barnes and Noble has realized that often the mass-produced version of the copy is just as good as the original. They prominently display the “Classics” section. It turns out, Borders has such a collection of classics, but I found them buried in some back corner. This is a bad thing. The place needs to be laid out properly; they should Feng Shui the place up, or something. It’s cramped pretty much everywhere and I can’t get comfortable there.
Bookstores should have a more homey feeling where you can relax and just breathe in the goodness of knowledge. In this they fail. If Borders wants me to purchase books I can’t afford, they just might have to step it up.