I spent some time in my local (chain) bookstore yesterday and found it a bit of a frustrating experience rather than an enjoyable time looking at books. I never thought I would say that I prefer the selection of YA in my very small branch library better than at a big bookstore. First of all, I couldn’t even find the YA section at the bookstore for a long time. I looked through one section (unlabeled) and realized that it was middle grade. Then I wandered around for a while…I guess I could have asked someone, but I like exploring and finding things for myself. Finally I found the unlabeled YA section.
The book I was looking for, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, was not shelved alphabetically–it had a separate shelf. Though, The Hunger Games had a separate shelf in the library as well, so I was expecting that.
I’m glad that in both locations the YA shelves are not anywhere near the children’s section. I don’t mind looking around there, but a teen will most likely feel differently.
I found what I was looking for, so I’m ultimately happy. I think most disappointing to me was the selection offered at Borders. At the library there are lots of new books, and there are a wide variety of types–like mystery, literary, historical, fantasy, and romance, but at Borders the books I saw didn’t seem nearly as varied. They seemed to be the hippest and edgiest. I guess when you’re selling books instead of lending them you have to be a lot more selective.
Overall, the experience left me with the feeling that my library is where I should go to browse for something new, and the bookstore is somewhere to go with a goal of what to buy. I’m sure there are many bookstores around that are great places to browse–especially ones that aren’t big chains like Borders, but with so many closing lately I feel like my options are pretty limited.