Here’s an interesting essay I read, via Leila at bookshelves of doom:
Books Without Borders by Paul Constant.
I never was a huge Borders shopper, and I had a hard time differentiating between them and any other large chain. It’s worse in my current city; we have no independent book stores apart from the comics shop, and only a couple secondhand ones – I think they lurk from strip mall to strip mall, never staying in one place for too long – but we do have the requisite green and beige mammoth Barnes & Noble.
But let’s forget about that mammoth for the moment. Here’s a short list of my favorite bookshops in and around Syracuse, New York. I think they’re all still open.
Books & Memories
Huge place. It also changed owners at least once during my time in Syracuse. With Owners No.1, the place waffled between easygoing order and manageable disarray, which was fine and fun to explore. A. and I spent a few hours every other weekend or so getting lost in the stacks. ON1 were as comfortable in the store as they were in their own house; they had some very loud fights on slow days. I remember looking through old spy/thriller paperbacks in the basement and hearing their shouts waft down through the vents.
Owner No. 2 organized the works and brought in a piano, a coffee bar, and a cat. It was nice – I could look for specific things more easily – but sometimes I missed the happy accident-prone browsing from before. Overall, though, it’s a great place.
Organized, cozy and with a great selection. Their website is also decent and the staff are knowledgeable about their inventory and books (rare or not) in general. I really like this place, and A. and I always made it part of our James Street excursions. Plus, the Palace is right across the street.
Very arty and cozy. The cafe has fantastic loose tea and they serve it to you with a little teapot of hot water. (Obviously it’s a giant surprise why I liked this place.)
Seven Rays Bookstore
Lots of religious and spiritual books here.