The 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge is hosted over at Good Books and Good Wine. Today, we're talking about how we shop for books!
If I'm shopping online, it's easy: it's usually something specific, and something I need in a short amount of time (like books for book club), or things that I've pre-ordered because I don't know if my local store will have it and/or I don't think I'll have time to go pick it up. I like to try to split my book buying 50/50 between online and real-world, with real-world book shopping dedicated to more random, spur of the moment purchases.
As someone who can't seem to go into a bookstore without coming out with a few books, you'd be right if you assumed that I had pretty much no plan whatsoever for buying things. But here are a few things that I look for when shopping in a real world book store.
Am I there looking for something specific? Then go and grab it! That way I can't walk out of the store without remembering to buy what I came for. After that (or if I come in not looking for anything in specific) I basically just roam around to see what I can see. My local indie book store has lots of staff recommendations -- little summaries/brief reviews -- taped up next to select books on the shelves, and I've bought tons of books just based off of those recommendations. I usually make sure to hit up the YA and Sci-Fi/Fantasy sections first, followed by walking around the rest of the store to see what catches my fancy. I only let myself buy what I can carry, since I'm usually either on foot or on public transportation, so once I have to start juggling books to keep from dropping them, I know I need to be done.
I also buy a lot of books that would be good writer's references for Things I Write on the Internet, aka fan fiction, stop judging me. So a spin through History, for books on WWII lady pilots and spies, or general non-fiction for books on art forgery and thieves and con-men, is almost always in order. Once, I bought a guide on preparing for modern warfare; the book's aimed at people in the military who are maybe deploying, I guess, but I wanted it as a reference in case I ever have to write about soldiers and war and such.
If you're ever in Chicago, make sure to visit The Book Cellar, my neighborhood store, pictured above. (You can even go inside it on Google maps!) And if you're ever in Minneapolis, visit Wild Rumpus, which is a book store that specializes in Children's/YA books. They also have a store chicken. And store cats. And a store lizard. And more. It's amazing.