Online retailing giant Amazon.com Inc. plans to open its first New York City bookstore in Manhattan’s Time Warner Center, the company said.
Brooklyn will always be in my heart, no matter where I’ve moved or live. And I’ve lived in many places, including Staten Island, Long Island, and Pennsylvania. There are many reasons I miss Brooklyn, where I grew up, and Manhattan, where I worked for many years before transferring to a Pennsylvania office. The variety and quality of restaurants, availability of fresh produce and bakeries, the masses of people from all over the world, Manhattan Beach, Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay….The list could fill this blog, but that’s not what I meant to write about, although the memories I’m stirring have me sitting here in a half-smiling, wistful daze.
I miss the used bookstores where I used to buy old paperbacks musty in smell and priceless in enjoyment. Old comics. Wow, how I loved to visit these stores, and there were a few of them, each with their own unique personality and magnetism. There was one that marked their prices for used comics in black marker on the front cover. Holy violation! Every comic collector, past and present, must be wincing right now, if not fainting in shocked outrage.
My favorite shop was on King’s Highway. I haven’t checked to see if they are still there, but they had the best selection of science fiction and fantasy paperbacks, among many other items of interest. The aisles were narrow, the shelves jammed crowded with as many books as they could fit, towering higher than I could reach. The smell of used books infused every corner, invigorating and exciting, promising a rewarding escape from reality.
I love to read. in my teens, I read a great deal. Today, I read much less due to the rigors of work and time invested in writing my own books. I leverage my commuting time with audio books to remain invested. But I’ve always loved books, and finding something new and tangible to take home and curl up with was one of my favorite things. I like the eBook concept, but I am old school this way. I want the book in my hands.
I’m glad that Amazon is opening book stores, and I hope the era of used book stores has not ended. I was sad when Borders closed. I am fearful when I read news stories that Barnes and Noble is doing poorly. I want my children, and their children, to know the pleasure that comes from browsing and buying in a real store, not just on a web page. I want them to understand why I loved it so much, and pass that love onto their own children.
What is your favorite bookstore experience?