The romance with books is not just about the actual reading experience. It also involves other things, including hunting and buying.
Walking into a store and sniffing the pungent scent of books, for instance, is a unique experience lots of book lovers really cherish and treasure. There is also the thrill of looking for a book you want so badly or simply falling in love with whatever you accidentally find among the piles of books in a shop. All these (and more) make visits to bookstores truly magical.
Yet in case you’re wondering what else you can do to make your visits to bookstores or encounters with independent booksellers more fruitful, here are some book hunting tips that you may find useful:
Know what you really want before going out for a hunt
Before going to any bookstore, ask yourself first, “What do I really want?” This way, you can determine which particular types of bookstores to visit. If you already have a specific title in mind, make sure that you visit a bookstore where there are people to help you with what you are looking for. You may also opt for bookstore chains, so you can simply proceed to the customer service desk and ask about the book you need to find.
You can also look for these books in shops that are selling second-hand books, as long as there is someone you can talk to about the titles available. Otherwise, you will just spend several hours dealing with piles of books without any guarantee that you will find what you need.
Yet if you are up for anything, feel free to check out any type of bookstore you please to. You may even check out a warehouse sale. Expect to do lots of hard work, though, as you will probably need to move a lot around the store and go through the books one by one to find titles that suit you. Don’t worry; your efforts will surely be worth it, especially books here are generally cheaper.
Do some research
Widen your horizons. Why settle for the usual establishments you frequent (especially the ones in malls) when there are other local bookstores you can explore? Ask fellow book lovers where else they get their latest finds. You may also read articles and join fora online to gain more information. For sure, you will be surprised as you learn about bookshops in places you never imagined.
I myself have discovered lots of great bookstores and independent booksellers by simply doing some research. I also learned about certain individuals selling books on sidewalks of certain streets in Metro Manila.
Survey each bookstore and talk to people managing the shops, if possible
It’s easy to be overwhelmed whenever you are surrounded by lots of books and it’s pretty understandable. However, if you plan to come up with a strategic book hunting plan that you can use in the near future, you may need to take a step backward and do some work.
Survey the bookstore and try to see what kinds of books it offers. This is necessary because even branches of the same bookstore chains have varying selections. You have to find out which branch sells more titles under the genre you are into, so you can make the most of every visit.
You may also talk to the people overseeing the store to get more information. It shall give you an idea of where their books come from and when they are usually delivered. Through them, you may also find out if there is a way to reserve titles. Who knows? These individuals might even give you great book recommendations.
Follow your favorite bookstores or booksellers on social media
Lots of businesses now already have Facebook and Twitter pages, including bookstores and booksellers. In fact, some local booksellers use their Facebook pages to showcase their new arrivals and allow patrons to reserve books.
Book hunting, indeed, is one of the most exciting parts of collecting books. While it is something that’s truly enjoyable for every book lover, it is still better to be wise and to make the most of every visit to a bookshop or a meeting with a bookseller. Hence, the use of strategies like these is something worth taking note of.
Happy book hunting!
This article was originally published on Meg Streetwear; minor edits have been made