This weekend, I took a weekend trip to Columbus with a friend of mine and one of the big items on our agenda was a visit to The Book Loft in German Village. This is no ordinary bookstore – it’s 32 rooms of books! If you like shopping at a store with wide aisles and relentless organization, you’re gonna hate this place: it’s small rooms, narrow aisles and totally overstuffed with books and other good things. What I found was that the small aisles and other hindrances made for a great communal shopping experience. People were very nice about stopping, waiting, backing up, sliding past and generally doing the Too Crowded Dance. Everyone was a good sport, no one was grouchy about it, and it really did sort of add to the fun.
One thing I loved: books are not shelved in just one place. I kept seeing books pop up all over – in Mysteries, in New Fiction, in Sci-Fi, in all the places you might conceivably look for it. It makes sense, because in a place like that, you could be half a block from where the book is shelved! A shopper might very well give up rather than wind their way back through the stacks to get to it. So it makes sense to have it in the different places where people might be browsing. I don’t know that I’ve seen that at any other bookstore and I really liked it.
I bought a bundle of books! I bought some books as gifts (baby showers coming up!) but only 2 for myself. As much as I love supporting local bookstores, we are on The Austerity Plan at my house, and we are keeping purchases to a minimum. Still, I couldn’t pass up an autographed Walter Mosely (the second book in the Leonid McGill series, the one that I’m missing) and the new Jo Nesbø! I also bought a calendar for next year with the Gashleycrumb Tinies, which I love.
Bookstores! I love them. When I travel, I always find a bookstore. (For ages, the one place I could reliably find in Amsterdam was the American Language Bookstore.) This place is definitely worth the 2-hour drive for a return visit.