Bookstores can be some of my favourite places, but not all bookstores. To me, the best bookstores have 3 qualities:

  1. They are perfect places to browse. The best bookstores encourage clients to wander through their spaces. They give them good light and lots of space so that you can easily see titles and find specific sections that you might be looking for. I know that there are people whose favourite bookstores are small holes-in-the-wall with many nooks and crannies. These can be atmospheric, but they don’t always make thinking about which book you want to read next easy.
  2. Good bookstores are the best resource for local authors and titles. Last year, when I was in Edmonton I visited Audrey’s Books. In their selection of local authors, I found Carissa Halton’s Little Yellow House: Finding Community in a Changing Neighbourhood. That book taught me a lot about building communities and sparked in me an interest in building my own community. Audrey’s Books was a great destination and while I was browsing, I found a great souvenir of Edmonton.
  3. The best bookstores have lots of character. There are certainly readers who will point out that cramped little bookstores with novels piled everywhere have character, but they can be difficult places to browse. It is hard to browse if you’re knocking over stacks of books. Still, those of us who love shopping for books often like a little character in our bookstores – even if it’s only the owner.

I am on holiday next week and so I may not write a book column on Friday – unless I find a really great book shop on my travels!

(Note: Blackwell’s is an Oxford Bookstore with great character!

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