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Monday, February 28, 2011

Be Honest....What's Your Favorite Bookstore?

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Is it a local brick and mortar store? A Christian bookstore? Or a secular store with a religion section? Or an online store?

Over the years I've gone through stages. I used to love spending time at the Borders Books on High Point Road in Greensboro, NC. That store will now close over the next two months. It's where I would go to buy reference books and pour myself into material that would teach me how to be a better writer. I would spend hours in that store dreaming of having my books on their shelves. I loved their bargain books and they always seem to have plenty of them.

When I moved to Winston-Salem, I discovered The Master's Loft, a Christian bookstore with a cafe. This was a wonderful place. We would go in here and spend hours with church folks and hold Bible studies and fellowship. Then they closed the store because they made more money through online sales. After that we were forced to shop at Family Christian Stores down the street, but there wasn't a cafe and the atmosphere wasn't the same. We began meeting fellow church members at Barnes & Nobles on Stratford Road and hanging out at their cafe. It was more crowded, had music that wasn't conductive to Bible studies, and the effort didn't last long.

Since moving to Charlotte, we've spent more time at Books-A-Million and their Joe Mugs Cafe. They have a great Religion section with lots of Christian fiction and I love their bargain bins. Over the last couple of months they got rid of Joe Mugs and opened some yogurt shop that I don't care for. Since then, I've visited the store, but I don't recall buying a thing, and I don't hang out there anymore. I go in, look for what I'm after, and get out. A few weeks ago, we drove several miles out of our way to visit a Barnes & Nobles with a cafe.

I've discovered if a bookstore has a cafe, I'll hang out there longer, look at more books, buy coffee and dessert, and fellowship with others. Without that atmosphere, I just shop online and buy books from Amazon. If they take away the atmosphere, I lose interest. It's the overall experience that I enjoy. 

What about you? In your opinion, what makes a great bookstore?


I do love bookstores with a coffeeshop or cafe.
Sadly, the only Christian bookstore around here with one is about a 45 minute drive. The last several times I've been to both Barnes and Noble and Borders they have had displays of books that either had offensive pictures on the cover or cuss words in the title. I just can't expose my kids to that.
So for now I order from Amazon and make myself a cup of tea.

My favorite Bookstore I would have to say is Barnes and Noble, mostly because of the cafe in them or my case the one's in Kentucky have coffee shops in them. I'll go in find the books I want purchase them, and then spend a few hours in the cafe drinking tea and having a dessert. Like you said it is the atomsphere of the bookstores that make the worth going to.

Redeemed, I haven't seen any of these things in B&N and others, but it may be b/c I head straight for the Christian section and don't browse or pay much attention to the displays. I'm glad you've chosen to protect your children.

Carissa, I'm afraid if the bookstores keep closing there won't be any left with the coffee shops in them. I was very upset at our Books-A-Million for putting in a yogurt shop. I can't imagine what they were thinking in doing away with Joe Mugs. They stayed busy so it couldn't have been for a lack of business.