Friday, September 30, 2011

mission creep

A Thirdfloorian expedition to the last standing big box bookstore in the whole of Upper R-wijk has reported a roughly 33% decrease in shelf space for Literature/Fiction due to encroachment of Toys/Games from the Kids' Enclave.  Also, the Corner of Ostentatious Intellectual Display (once identifiable by its two Comfy Chairs and presence of the Poetry Section) has now been displaced by Dogs. Or was it Sports?  I forget.  Probably Sports, because the chairs are still there.  Poetry, however, has shifted it down the line to a Hooverville not far from Dodgy Histories of Europe, and is now reckoned to be about half way to End Cap status.

The good news: The ratio of German lit in translation to Anglo fiction seems to have risen. Slightly.  (This is probably entirely due to Heinrich Böll, Hans Fallada and Melville House Publishing, because tokenism favors one-stop-shopping. But of course it may also just be because they've gotten rid of a lot of stuff.)  Also, no works of Nobel Prize for Literature winners were discovered in the Red Sticker Rubbish bins with the out-of-favor manga series and the bad Dan Brown knockoffs. This time.


  1. The Borders I grew up with had a Corner of Ostentatious Intellectual Display too... poetry and comfy chairs FTW. I'm quite amused by your more accurate labels for big bookstore sections (e.g. Dodgy Histories of Europe,) also. I confess that I've largely shifted my book buying to smaller stores, where the selection is better, and the atmosphere is determined by floor-to-ceiling shelves instead of fluorescent lights. I haven't yet found one with enough space for comfy chairs, though. Sigh.

  2. lol The bookstore I grew up with was a tiny two room place run by a lovely man with shrapnel in his knee from Monte Cassino. We had a Very Serious Discussion once about whether or not I should go into the army. (I was like ten.) He was never ostentatious about anything, but I think he carried the Intellectual Corner with him everywhere he went.

    But that was awhile ago and way up the New Haven line...

    You have the luxury of living in a place where there still are smaller stores. All but one of ours were driven out by Borders (and Amazon). And that Borders was as you describe, until Borders Corporate opened another Borders ten miles away, and thus strangled its own market share trying to compete with itself and B&N and Amazon. Now we'll see if B&N's slide into mediocrity benefits the last standing indie, or whether it all goes to Amazon and we're left with zip nada.

    In which case, as always, yay Powell's.