Now, I don't actually shop at Greenwoods, but learning one of Edmonton's independent bookstores is closing its doors is always sad.
It's also hypocritical to get too upset about it, lefty or not. I must confess I'm a Chapters shopper.
Yes, I make the random trip into Audreys, and I check the offerings at Wee Book Inn at least once a week (because who doesn't love used classic books? and why pay full price when you know there are 1,000 copies of Jane Eyre floating around out there?).
In Ottawa, I positively lived off Perfect Books. When I lived there, I honestly did not shop for books anywhere else. Even after I moved away, staff at the bookstore remembered me for the weekends I would come back to visit my brother and his partner and drag them to the store. After an hour, Mike and Sarah would wait -- slightly irritated but patient because I was a guest -- by the door while I did my best to fill up the regular customer card that could land me with five, 10 and 25 per cent off my more expensive purchases.
But here in Edmonton, I'm a Chapters girl. It's so sad, eh? I don't know what's happened to me. I feel like I accidentally bought into Tom Hanks in You've Got Mail, where he explains people want good books and good coffee and they want it cheap. Is that what I want? I'm not sure.... I like that Chapters has more choice than anywhere else. I like my discounts (how embarrassing) and I like sipping a Starbucks coffee (gawd, I sound like such a yuppie), and I like listening to the banter of idiots.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Do you think anyone wanders into a place like Greenwoods asking if the staff have ever heard of "Bronty"? Or asking if they've maybe got the book based on the movie "There Will Be Blood?" I don't think so. Classy independent bookstores do not draw morons, they draw snobs. And snobs are not funny (unless they are wearing berets). And on a Sunday afternoon when I want coffee and the New York Times and a game of Cranium and an environmentally-friendly shopping bag and the fastest-possible access to the latest Sophie Kinsella novel, I also want to be peripherally entertained by stupid people.
All of this makes me a bad person.