Bordens Bookstore – Ann Arbor, MI

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.


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