Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Checking out the Competition


Katie and I took a little field trip today to a giant Barnes and Noble in Memphis. We live in a town with the greatest indie book store, Square Books, where the buyers carefully choose, read and review all of their selections. It is a dreamy place. But, every so often we like to go to a big box store and see what's on their shelves. Besides, I wanted to do some picture book sleuthing, and I needed to go somewhere where I could read lots of entire picture book series.

Here we our grabbing our iced tea (Katie) and vanilla latte' (me) before we hit the shelves.

Um. I got a little sidetracked by the journals. OMG!! There are so MANY!

Katie got a little sidetracked by this cute, subtle picture book that is a tale of love and a blueberry muffin.

Okay. Research. I like to read picture books and then quickly plot them out in a sentence or two. I'll go home later and look through them. I'm hoping this will help me brainstorm and come up with some new ideas for plot twists and storylines.

Katie's flipping through Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and reading me little snippets of Laurie's dead-on teen-speak.


After spending time at B & N, Katie and I both agreed that our little indie book store is truly a treasure. We have a much better selection of quality books in good ole Oxford, and nobody gives you weird looks when you pull up a chair and sit for hours with no intention of purchasing anything. Nothing against B & N overall (I actually love the one that we go to in Birmingham during SCBWI Conferences, and I think their website is great)--but THIS one was the pits. It was in a suburb of Memphis and was so picked over, I wonder if it is about to be closed.

I did actually make a few purchases: I walked out with a new journal (actually it is for my sister-in-law to use as a guest book in her cabin) and a copy of Australian Vogue Living (the most delicious magazine on earth). Oooo . . . I haven't even had a chance to look through it yet!

sf

17 comments:

Weronika Janczuk said...

Oh, wow, that does look like a huge B&N. Nice. Glad to see you got something out of your trip!

Interestingly enough (or not), our situations are inverted. In my lovely suburb I have a reasonably-sized B&N and must drive into the Twin Cities to stop into an indie bookstore (of which there are many, though - thankfully).

Thanks for sharing this trip with us!

Little Ms J said...

I love your little field trip, Katie's boots and all! I wish we could all meet at some wonderful bookstore, drink coffee and plot industry takeover.

Love it, belles!

KLo said...

Although I sort of live at my local Barnes and Noble, I really miss the personalization of the indie bookstores that seem to be a dying breed (we used to have a really great one here on the New Hampshire seacoast, but it closed down as B&N was experiencing its meteoric rise). You're lucky to have a good one right nearby! There's still a small used bookstore that I frequent, though : )

Joanna said...

I used to work at B&N. And although they're so corporate, there is just something about being around so, so many books at the same time. It's magical.

Looks like you girls had fun! I'll take YOU to Books of Wonder (one of the best stores in the universe) and Bank Street Books (the other best store in the universe) when you get your but to NYC!

Solvang Sherrie said...

How fun! I love visiting a bookstore with writer friends. Looks like a lovely afternoon :)

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

country mouse goes to the big city :) tee hee

Tamika: said...

You two look like you had a great time! B&N is a mall for the book lover.

I haven't found a bookstore in my City that has a personal feel. Hmph!

Diggestive said...

Looks like a fun time had by all

Elana Johnson said...

So fun to see you guys! I can totally imagine us there, reading each other's books! Thanks for the smile.

Christina Lee said...

Who cares about the books--Katie, tell me about those stinkin' cute cowgirl boots you have on ;)
LOL! I just love me some bookstore time. The smell, the excitement of seeign and buying new books, the dreaming of being on shelves someday....sigh

Shannon O'Donnell said...

*sigh* Oh, that looks like such a good time! I think I need to go book shopping now. :-)

Sharon Mayhew said...

We live in an area with a population of about 100,000 plus a college. Sadly, we have two book stores left. We lost two right after Christmas. We have a B & N and a Christian bookstore. We were Borders before we lived here, but that's not an option here. Our B & N is pretty nice. The coffee shop always has people reading, chatting or writing on laptops.

jessjordan said...

Come hang out at my Borders with me. No one looks at anyone funny there, and it seems loitering is encouraged. (Although, it's always possible you got stink-eye looks because you were taking pictures in B&N, like a couple of teens on a skipping-school-vacay. I'd look at you kind of funny, too. Just kidding. Kinda.)

And I know this sounds like an eye-roller--an "Mm hmm ... Suuuure you do, dear" moment, but I have the cutest idea for a little picture book. It frustrates me that I don't write/illustrate/have the first flippin' clue how write it. I admire you PB'ers and your succinctness!

Bethany said...

I go in the B & N in Mobile for hours at a time and have since I was in middle school. The store never looks picked over or "the pits" thank goodness. Most of the staff there knows me. :/ Which could be good or sad I guess. I have bought so many journals from there over the years. They sit on my shelves with only one or two pages written; they are just so aesthetically pleasing that I cannot help it! I am so jealous of the little book store you speak of; I so wish we had one! Love your blog.

Jessica DeHart said...

i so wish I could have met you ladies there!

Kristi Valiant said...

That's a great idea to quickly plot out the picture books you read in a sentence or two. I'm stuck on my overall plot on my WIP manuscript, so I may head to the bookstore tomorrow to do that. We have a huge B&N and also a Borders, but no Indies.

Daisy Whitney said...

I do the same -- I like to buy from locals, but I also like to see what the big stores are pushing!

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