Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thought for Thursday: The Book Hunt

Have you ever searched through various bookstores, trying to locate that one gotta-have-it book only to find that either all of their copies have sold out or they do not carry books by that title's publisher?  Raise your hand if this has happened to you.

*raises hand!* 

Now, granted I know that with all of the online booksellers, there is no means by which we cannot obtain a book.  HOWEVER.  There is something about the thrill of hunting through bookstores and at long last locating a copy of that gotta-have-it title.  Back when I was in library school, my roommates (also in library school) and I would visit three or four bookstores over the weekend usually Barnes & Noble, Borders (when they were still around), Half-Price Books, and Hastings.  (Yes, clearly, the city we lived in was a library school city.)  Why did we visit three or four stores, you ask?  Sometimes out of boredom, sometimes because we were clothes-shopping at the mall, but mostly because of the hunt. 

I will admit that I didn't always know what I was hunting for in the bookstores, just that I was "on the hunt."  You could have a list of titles in mind, but that doesn't mean any of them will be in any of the bookstores.  And you know, one of my roommates usually had a list of titles on hand.  I really should have learned from her, but a mental list is so much more fun!  (Especially when you're grasping at that gotta-have-it title that's on the tip of your tongue but you just can't quite remember it.)  I look at it as a way to keep my mind sharp.  Now, what was I talking about again...?

Ah, yes.  The book hunt is something that any shopper can hopefully understand.  Searching for that gotta-have-it title and then trying to find it for the best possible price.  Yes, I definitely admit to placing a book back on the shelf because I thought I could find a better deal at another bookstore.  Sometimes I was, but most times not so much.  However, you just can't get over that feeling of, "Wait, maybe if I check *insert bookstore* they'll be having a special or sale!"  There have been times that I've followed this route only to be led back to the original store because they were the only one carrying the book I wanted. 

That brings me to another point.  I'm curious as to why major bookstores don't always carry popular upcoming books from smaller publishers.  Don't the smaller (and growing!) publishers deserve a chance to be in the bookstore limelight, too?  Now perhaps this is just at my local bookstores (not the indie bookstores, mind you) and there could be others within the same major chain that do get one or two copies of smaller publishers' titles.  And there is the opportunity to order titles and have them shipped to a local store, but come on!  That takes all the fun out of the book hunt.  Definitely brings to mind the phrase, "Shooting fish in a barrel."  But sometimes that is the way to do it.  That and ordering them online to have them delivered straight to you, which is great, too, especially if you're wanting that gotta-have-it sequel to an amazing book ASAP.

I guess my point kind of goes in the same vein as last week's Thought on print books surviving.  The book hunt is a HUGE reason why we still have books in print.  And I know I'll still be going on the hunt in the future. 

How do you hunt for your books?


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