I got an email a couple of days ago from B&N asking me if I’d like to be part of their 10 year celebration of the B&N card carrying members. The note included a request to supply a photograph of me along with the books I’ve purchased at B&N. Only problem being that there isn’t a camera with a lens wide angle enough to fit me in a photo with all those books.
B&N and me go way back to my college days in Manhattan where I became enamored with their bookstore that catered to college kids. But it was when I relocated to Bergen County that I fell for the B&N Superstore on Route 17 North.
There’s much to a bibliophile’s delight in any B&N store, but the Route 17 location is the only one I’ve encountered with a Sale Annex. On more than one occasion my wife has threatened to hire a van and move my books back to their origin for pennies on the dollar. Thank goodness the Annex is very particular about what they’ll buy back, so the contents of my tupperware tins and bookcases are still safe.
My B&N member card is a bargain – at $25/year it buys me 20% off hardcover books in the store, 10% off softcover books and magazines, and 5% online. That has saved me a bundle through the past 10 years, though I wonder whether there shouldn’t be a deeper loyalty or volume discount. Shouldn’t someone who’s bought a significant number of books, and/or has been a member for 10 years, be accorded more of a discount than someone using their card infrequently?
In any event, I’m a B&N junkie, and find myself going there on average several times a week. On the weekend I’ll visit the store on Route 70 in Brick, an easy commute from our Point Pleasant Beach perch. During the week I frequent either the Rt. 17 store, or its sister Bergen County store on Rt. 4 East in Riverside Square Mall. The Riverside Square location is a newer store and it’s a beauty, as you can plainly see.
The two Bergen County locations, on any given night, serve as high school student study hall. It’s a pet peeve of mine that the store is taken over by kids who don’t buy books, but hang out and occupy all of the tables – and not quietly, I might add. Nevertheless my love for the look and ambience of the stores, otherwise, offset the wait for a table and the background noise.
Ultimately these stately stores will be phased out, as nook cases replace book cases. Much of what we read now will be phased out in favor of electronic readers. It’s not the same for me yet, as I need the feel of a book and the freedom to browse. There’s a gestalt of a whole book and a bi-directionality of reading that pales in comparison to the sequential nature of e-books. I’m doing my best to keep paper alive.