I live fairly close to what I believe is one of the worst bookstore in the world.
Not only is it one of the big, bad chain stores (Although I don’t have anything against chain stores. The evils of box retailers just isn’t one of my pet issues.), but the selection is horrendous, the store is always a mess and the people who work there appear to know little about books.
Luckily I also live nearby two independently owned bookstores and a college bookstore with a decent fiction section.
But I still find myself in the awful bookstore, let’s call it Tomes-A-Zillion or TAZ, every once in a while.
On my last visit, I was looking for a copy of John Kennedy Toole’s “Confederacy of Dunces”. I finally found it between Clive Clussler and Jennifer Weiner. In the R section.
The disorganization is actually one of their lesser sins. It makes it hard to find a book, but I don’t really mind being forced to peruse a bookstore’s shelves.
It’s the overwhelming sale section that bothers me most.
A good third of the TAZ is filled with deeply discounted books. Not just crappy romance novels and out-of-date travel guides but well-written novels by respected, talented authors.
On the day of my “Confederacy of Dunces” search, I found novels by Christopher Moore, Joyce Carole Oats, Tom Perrotta and Steve Martin for $6 or less.
Seeing quality books in the bargain bin next to “Snooki: Confessions of a Guidette” makes me extraordinarily sad. I want to buy them all, every single copy of every good book, just to give them a home. Someplace to live far from Jersey Shore.
But I know that books don’t just need a home, they need to be read. And there are too many books I haven’t read yet for me to reread copies of novels just because I feel sorry for them.
Maybe the low price tag means these books will find their way into the hands of readers, but I have a feeling that most TAZ customers prefer Snooki to Joyce Carole Oats.
And that makes me extraordinarily sad too.