I had the opportunity to visit one of the largest and oldest bookstores in Michigan – I’m sure someone told me it was one of the largest but I can’t confirm that. I had visited the bookstore back in 2006 – but I walked in yesterday with a different set of eyes – scanning locations of the books, layout of the books and the atmosphere of the store.
I browsed the first floor and could easily find the “Baby” section – tucked away in the back corner of the store with a wide open space, a ramp for strollers to go up and very comfortable for both parents and children. I was there in the mid afternoon and there was no one around – I’m sure that was just bad timing on my behalf.
As I made my way back towards the front of the store I found the “Independent Readers” section. Another large section with books for the 9-14 age group. The books were arranged by author for the most part – but there were some sections highlighted by other labels such as the series name. Audio books were tucked in with the “real” books – so you didn’t have to leave that section to find the audiobooks – nice planning I thought. There was a separate shelf in the middle of this corner with “Award winners” on the one side and age appropriate graphic novels on the other.
So – I couldn’t find the Young adults section – yup had to breakdown and ask. Well – they were up on the second floor and took up about a fifth to a quarter of the second floor. Again very comfortable, chairs, tables, study-type cubicles all nicely laid out. Their selection of books – WOW!!!! They weren’t stuffed in a corner – they were all visible and open for viewing. There was one whole shelf dedicated to the Twilight and similar type series but it wasn’t as in-your-face as I’ve seen at home. It was tasteful and attractive.
Right beside this section was another BIG section with age-appropriate graphic novels. This is where I saw a young adult buckled down on a stepping stool just thoroughly absorbed in a book! Something I’ve never seen at home in our Chapters – because there really is no nice spot to sit and read. But wait – I’m in a bookstore not a library! Hmmm – made me step back and wonder about the difference between bookstores and libraries – how they’ve learnt from libraries – but are libraries learning from them?
And yes for those of you wondering, I bought a couple of books: “The Mysterious Benedict Society” by Trenton Lee Stewart from the Independent Readers section and “Max: A Maximum Ride Novel” by James Patterson from the Young Adults section.