The door opens to a musty smell as you walk into a room full of books. Books are stacked on shelves, on ledges, on the floor, on tables, the book towers teetering, almost touching the ceiling. You are scared to brush past the stacks or to try to take out a book from the middle of a pile. You are afraid that the full-stack might topple over, leaving you buried under books( though in hindsight, not a bad fate at all!). Welcome to the bookstore where no inch of space is left vacant, there are books as far as the eye can see. Arranged ( or rather, plonked) in no particular order, not sorted, they seem to be dumped willy-nilly. And yet, the bookseller knows precisely where each book is. The bookseller gauges you by the books you pick, the blurbs you read, and if you ask for, the recommendations will never miss the mark. The shop doesn’t have comfortable nooks or recesses for you to peruse your choices. Most of the books are covered with plastic covers, ostensibly to protect them from dust but actually to discourage reading for free. The bookseller will grudgingly take the plastic off if you ask, only to promptly put it back on once you return the book. You will spend the whole time in the shop standing ( in fact the only furniture apart from the books is usually a table and a rickety stool for the bookseller to sit on) and yet, you do not get tired. You are energized by the sight of so many books, impressed by the bookseller’s knowledge and recommendations. You enjoy every moment spent in that hole in the wall bookstore.
The automatic doors open with a soft whoosh as you step inside, there are racks after racks of filled with books all arranged neatly by genres, easy to find. The floors are covered with a thick carpet muffling sound and nestled in between the racks of books are sofas where, if you so desire, you can sit and read a book in peace. Tables having attractive displays of current bestsellers entice the reader the pick them up, to explore them, buy them. Mingling with the smell of books is the aroma of coffee from the in-house coffee house. There is an air of hushed reverence for the books. An ever polite, helpful assistant is there to look up your queries in the state of the art computer.
Hours can be spent in these places, just browsing through the books. You become unaware of the time flying until you are dragged out by your companions. The small bookstore is cruder on the surface but has a unique personal touch, there is an undefinable relation with the bookseller. The big chain bookstore, though impersonal, is more comfortable, lulling you into spending the whole day there.
Some people prefer the first bookstore for its unique personality while others prefer the second for its peace and discount power. As for me, even though both are poles apart, they both are my version of a paradise.
**I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.**