The Great Book Debate (And Picks For Christmas)

I have a dilemma. I buy all our books at a certain bookstore; a famously beautiful bookstore. I love this store. It has a mezzanine (always the most glorious part of a library), plus lovely, chatty staff and well-curated titles on the front tables each week. I travel all the way across town to buy books at this store, despite there being a closer bookshop within walking distance of our house. The beautiful bookstore has also supported me beyond anything I could have imagined. (They sold more than 170 copies of my Paris book alone: 100 of which I signed for them.) I shop there because I like supporting bookstores. But buying books at this store means I spend three times more than I would if I used Amazon. So the question remains... Is the cost of loyalty becoming too great? {Image above via House & Garden, November 2002, photography by James Waddell.}

Here's the other thing. Last Friday I spent an hour at this store picking out $200 worth of beautiful books for Christmas gifts for our family. When I returned yesterday, the assistant had forgotten to put them on hold, and they'd all been sold. Most were the only copies. "Did I want to order them in again?" the new assistant said. "No, that's okay," I said, trying not to show too much disappointment, as it was indeed A Very Good Bookstore.

So I'd like to ask you this: Do you all still frequent bookstores? Or have you all defected to the Mighty Amazon?

As my partner explained to me last night, if we bought through Amazon, we could potentially buy three times as many books for that money. But as I argued, bookstores would go out of business. The other thing, of course, is that Amazon is slowly hiking up their prices. Once they have a monopoly, they will be able to charge what they want, as the competition will have disappeared. But, oh, how they've lured us all in to begin with! {Image above of Goyard's trunk for Assouline for $20,000}

What a tangled web we weave.

Where do you all buy your books? Online? At second-hand or new bookstores? Or do you simply go to the library? (I went yesterday. It was very cute. It still had the old card system and was staffed by two sweet octogenarians. I heard one say to the other: "Have you heard anything about this Facebook thingy?")

Here are some of the new releases I had put on hold for Christmas gifts before The Beautiful Bookstore reshelved them.  Oh well, looks like our family will be getting gourmet food baskets instead this year...

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