Barnes & Noble -- The Marketplace
I think bookstores are going the way of the 8-track tape (although personally, I'll give up my 8-track player when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers -- ANALOG FOREVER!!). Why take the time to browse the shelves at a bookstore when, for a small annual fee to Amazon, I can have unlimited books shipped free to me in just two days? If I'm really in a hurry, an extra $4 gets it to me the next morning. And shopping at a bookstore affords far fewer choices since they are limited by space and popularity. I might find "Raising Turtles
for Dummies" at the bookstore, but never know of the existence of "Raising Turtles for the Truly Mentally Challenged" that a computer search would have revealed.
And what about downloading? I agreed with those that argued books would always be around because reading from a computer screen is just not the same as flipping open a book at the beach. But then comes Amazon's Kindle. Now I can get a book faster than going to the store. I hear a book mentioned on a talk show and boom, it's on my Kindle faster than I can forget the author's name. And it's better than a book at the beach because the pages don't blow in the breeze. Further, I'm not limited to books. If I'm
going crazy trying to figure out how to create a table with Dreamweaver, why buy an entire, expensive book when for 99 cents I can download to my Kindle an article or e-book entitled, "How to Create a Table in Dreamweaver"?
My heart will always belong to the Bookstar that used to occupy space across the street, but while it's still around, I'll enjoy the Barnes & Noble in The Marketplace when I'm in a mood to browse. The magazine selection is very good and as far as I can tell the inventory of books is unmatched by any other brick and mortar store. When I'm doing research for a writing project, I can sit in the cafe and use the entire
store for reference materials and management seems okay with that. And now that I have a notebook computer with six hours of battery life, I don't even have to fight for a table near a plug. (Why do stores woo you with free wi-fi, implying that they are OK with you sitting and using your laptop, but do nothing to make electrical outlets available, to the point that they sometimes cover the outlets to make them unavailable?)
For it's atmosphere, energy, selection, staying open until 11:00 p.m. every day and not hassling customers with a three foot high stack of books in the cafe (I promise never to break the spines), we award Barnes & Noble our award for Best Bookstore in and around Tustin.
We had high hopes for the new Borders Bookstore in The District, but it's the same as all the others and you have to fight to find a seat in the small cafe. Although, with the demise of Tower Records, Borders is a great place to go for music.
-- Dors Venabili
Tustin Magazine Secret Shopper
August 21, 2009
Barnes & Noble
The Market Place
13712 Jamboree Road
Irvine, CA 92602
Store Hours 9-11 Every Day