Monday, August 23, 2010

People Watching

People are like holidays. Do others see you as Christmas, or more like Tax Day? ~Terri Guillemets

Yesterday, my DH decided to install the switch panel thingie for our generator (and now that we have one, I can guarantee no power outages in NH ever again! *G*) and in order to do so, he'd have to shut of all power to the house for a few hours.

When that happened, it was off to Barnes and Noble for DD and I. She sat and read for free on her Nook and I worked on the LASR/WC/Aurora website (I was behind since I'd had my friend up on Saturday). The store was PACKED with people, Starbucks was doing a booming business (to which I contributed by getting a venti mocha and a Godiva chocolate cheesecake slice which was un-freaking-believably good).

I had a hard time concentrating on what I was doing, though, because so much was happening around us.

Behind me, two twenty-something girls were passionately discussing Christianity while right next to me, a couple was meeting with what was either a wedding planner or a pastor-type person. They were planning a very pagan wedding ("The Goddess" was mentioned several times). One toddler had a complete meltdown, screaming at the top of his lungs and, as his dad carried him out, the kid's body was stiff as a board as he shrieked.

I went to the bathroom, and a mom stood there with a little boy (maybe 2 y.o.) who kept peeking around the corner and down the hall -- I suspect they were waiting for the lady and her daughter who were in the bathroom. The woman held the door to the stall. They had this conversation:

Mom: "Hurry up."

Daughter: "Moooommm.... I'm going POTTY."

Mom: "I know, but hurry up."

Daughter: "Moooommmmm..... (pause).... I'm going the BIG POOP."

I had to keep myself from cracking up. Kids are the best.

There were people reading on their Nooks (LOTS!), people on computers, people reading books and magazines, and a lot of people were buying things. It was great to see.

Barnes and Noble was always a place I went for time alone when I was younger. I'd peruse the stacks, sit on the floor and read a little, and always walk out with something. I haven't been there on a weekend in a long time, but I was amazed at how busy they were -- partly due, most likely, to the weather (it was raining!! YAY!), but also it's a great place for a family outing.

Recently, there have been discussions as to whether any brick and mortar bookstore will be able to survive online sales. It breaks my heart to think of it. I admit to buying a lot online, but I love my bookstores, too. I think the stores need to rethink their sales strategies (for BN, having options for the Nook instore -- like the free reading and coupons is a great start, IMHO) and make themselves more than just books. Getting people in the door is what's important. Once there, folks will be inclined to shop for something, even if it's just a magazine or a cup of coffee.

I made the decision some time ago to support online and brick and mortar retailers other than Amazon. I recognize that it's all about free enterprise, but I'm very uncomfortable with the corner Amazon has on the market. Yes, they're cheap NOW. But, what happens when no one is left to offer them competition? It worries me.

It's one of the reasons I bought a Nook instead of a Kindle. It's also why I buy my Harlequins FROM eHarlequin (and they are cheaper there than at Amazon!) and not at Amazon or even WalMart. And there are Nook applications for your iPhone, iPad and Android.

Maybe I'm being a little paranoid (but HEY... I remember Ma Bell -- "We don't care, we don't have to").

In any case, I sure hope the brick and mortar bookstores remain in business. I think it would be a great loss for the next generation to miss out on the experience.


You Live Out Loud

You are adventurous, outgoing, and totally fearless. You just go for it!

You tend to have all eyes on you, and you don't necessarily mind. You were born to be a star.

You would make an excellent rock star or actor - you have an undeniable charm. You are magnetic.

Even if you aren't ever famous, you're still pretty darn popular. People love to be around you.

Hmmm... not really .... though I do love to act!



groovyoldlady said...

I love book stores, big or small. The smell of all those pages...Aaaaaaaaaaaah.

MomJane said...

I came up normal, so what do they know. Sounds like a great day at B&N.

Maria Zannini said...

I'm glad to see more people are using e-readers.

I am still waiting for them to break below the $100 mark. I think they will soon.

Ref: Ma Bell
Unfortunately Bell is pretty much all back together again. They use different names, but it's all part of the same company.

But it doesn't really matter since it has plenty of competition now. Verizon being its biggest rival.

I think the same thing is happening with e-readers. There are a lot of competitors out there. The only thing that will distinguish them in the future is price and the formats they'll accept.

Tori Lennox said...

Though I live in the hinterlands now and pretty much have to depend on online retailers, I used to LOVE going to the bookstore. Didn't matter if it was the used book store or the place that sold only new books. I could spend hours there!

I love that with the Nook, I now have options. I can buy my electronic books at B&N or places that stuff in epub format. I can also buy hard copy books from Amazon if I've so a mind to, but I really see myself buying more ebooks if they're available.

But I hope bookstores don't go out of fashion. I still have a dream of owning a used bookstore. :)

Brandy said...

I've yet to purchase an ereader. Partly because I'm such a techno-goober and partly because to me there is nothing better than holding a book in my hand, touching the ink across the pages and the smell of the paper, whether it's a new book or a used one. I rarely buy books online, but when I do it's usually from B&N and BAM. I'd already decided if I do ever purchase an ereader it would be the Nook. Amazon all powerful makes me nervous.

Hope you're having a terrific day!

Ceri Hebert said...

Now that's an awesome way to spend the day! I remember back when I was just out of college I used to go to the local Green Mountain Coffee Roasters with either a sketch pad or notebook and just hang out. It was fantastic. I so wish I had something similar close by. Closest B & N is an hour away.

I'm contemplating the e-reader, but not sure if I'd go for a Sony or Nook (since I rarely have a chance to go to a B & N)