|I'd been hoping for a quaint little store like this one|
I was pretty sure I wasn't in for a wonderful surprise like the Tattered Cover in Denver which kenpen blogged about last week (though I must admit I kind of hoped), and I wasn't looking to buy any books. This was just a recon mission. I already have plenty of books in my Leaning Tower, and I arrived at the store just five minutes before closing time. I know, I know, people like me should be shot, but I made a quick spin through the store and was out of there in four.
Only four minutes in a bookstore? What could it mean? Other than the fact that I was determined to allow the shop girls to close on time, unfortunately it also meant I was a bit disappointed in the store. I think the Friends of the Library bookstore in Los Alamos has spoiled me. They always have an incredible selection of used books. I want (and buy) at least a third of the books I touch in there. Good thing I only visit it about once a year.
I didn't put my finger on my main problem with the local store until I perused the most recent link list at Farm Lane Books. One of the links was for an article about the difference between trade and mass-market paperbacks. I'd never really thought about how I prefer one over the other. Maybe it's common knowledge that a trade paperback is more likely to be a quality book--they sure cost more, anyway--but I'd never noticed how I gravitate towards them and away from mass-market paperbacks. It's not as if it's impossible to find quality among the mass-markets, but there's a lot of dross to wade through.
Have you guessed why I was disappointed? The local used bookstore was wall-to-wall mass-market paperbacks. Of course I didn't even walk through the Romance section, which seemed to take up half the store (why waste precious seconds?), but the other half looked like it could be all James Patterson and Clive Cussler. Granted, if I'd had more time to browse, it's possible that I might have come across a few treasures. That's why I'm not telling you the name of the store--I ought to give them another chance first. But judging by what I saw during my four minutes, it didn't look promising. (There was also a marked dearth of hardcover books, but I didn't find that so surprising.)
The realization of my prejudice against mass-market paperbacks caused me to take a good look at my own bookshelves. I noticed that, though we do own a fair number of mass-market paperbacks, most of them are hiding their squatty little spines behind cabinet doors where you can't see them unless you're looking for them. This forces me to admit that it's not just a matter of a difference in quality of content. I am also an unrepentant cover-judger.
How about you? Are you a Trade Paperback Snob who snubs the poor little mass-market paperbacks?