Logically, I should like the library better. After all, it's free. And it would probably save me a great chunk of money to just go to the library. Yet I find two things lacking in the library, even though I use it from time to time. One, its selection is limited. If I want one of my specific, obscure books, it often isn't there or is in another library. If I want a popular book, it often is out. Depending on the library exclusively would be incredibly frustrating for me. Two, it lacks that beautiful yet painful ceremony of which-books-am-I-going-to-buy-and-which-books-will-I-put-back or deciding (which I will go into further detail below) because I can just haul off a truckload of books. Three, it has a time limit and renewal is a pain in the ass because I truck away so many books to be read at one time. Four, it lacks a Starbucks. Five, it just doesn't have the same ambiance. Not that the library ambiance isn't perfectly cozy and everything, but it just isn't the local bookstore I've grown up with my whole life. Not to mention, library books just lack that new book smell. In other words, my reasoning against library books is completely irrational.
Going to the bookstore is quite the beautiful experience, though. It is as follows for my family and I.
First, I request to go to the bookstore or some pressing need to go to the bookstore goes up and I just can't resist. Then I get out of the car, enter the store and... the magic begins. When I go to the store, I first scan the bargain books outside the entrance. Then... I walk in the store, right to the YA section. I whip out of my phone for any books on my list (often books that I chose to put back previously) for good titles and then I just peruse.
The great fun about going to the bookstore is seeing all of the new titles splayed out and combing through all of the books that Barnes and Noble's has put out on a table or on the special shelves as a sort of promotion. Avoiding all the Books-About-Things-I-Am-Absolutely-Sick-of (the topics are: paranormal romance, urban fantasy, dystopian books, zombies, vampires, visible love triangles) and hardcovers in general, I can comb through the racks and look for books that attract me in some way. Even more fun than seeing what books Barnes and Nobles will promote is the activity of looking for the little unnoticed books stuck between the shelves and looking for the authors that I've never heard of.
And then there is the deciding that I mentioned above. I have mixed feelings about that because it is both an extraordinarily fun and painful process. Which one to choose when they all look so good? Usually I decide based on how good the book looks, how likely I would be to pick it up later/ how easy it would be to find again, whether or not it's in a series (if so, how long has it been since I read the previous book?), how many times I've already put it back and if I know and like the author or not. Sometimes, I even rely on the help of my mother and sister. Today was particularly challenging for me but I ultimately ended up going from eight books to five (all paperback and YA- which DOES make a tremendous difference from hardcover and adult books).
At the end of that deciding game, when my mother (and often my sister) are stuck waiting for me, I can walk over to them with the books that made the cut and a smile on my face. Oftentimes, my run to Barnes and Nobles ends with me drinking my drink of choice, a chocolate smoothie (or, sometimes, a vanilla steamer).
To me, one cannot put a price on the bookstore. The trip, the process of going there there will be forever carved into my soul and will forever be a part of me. Sure, giving me hand-me-down books, going to independent bookstores and library books would sate my book need but it would make me feel empty without a Barnes and Noble trip.
Barnes and Noble bookstore is my childhood, my lifeline, my soul. While I am often reminded why I should not get physical books and much less buy them, I don't care. In this Barnes and Noble bookstore lifestyle, I am forever set.
Yes, I love the bookstore. This is my final declaration.