I have to ask myself if I feel differently about a student using B&N as a library than I do about some shopper too cheap to pull his wallet out of his pocket and buy a book or two. I worked with a fellow for about twenty years who used to use every lunch hour reading books in the bookstore across the street from our office. He would read three or four books a month that way, hiding the books somewhere deep in the shelves until he was done with them. Never, not one single time, did I know him to buy a book - from anywhere. But then I see students there on weekends and in the evenings making use of the technical and scholarly books in B&N and that doesn't bother me so much.
I realize how expensive books are for college students and, after all, this store has little tables placed around the store for the use of "customers," not to display books. Sometimes I see whole study groups in the store using one single text as part of their school preparation. B&N, at least my local one, seems to encourage this kind of thing.
Take a look at this letter from a Georgia resident lamenting the closing of his local Barnes & Noble store:
A month ago I heard sad news for our community that the Barnes & Noble bookstore located in Fayetteville is about to close.My first reaction is to tell the guy that if folks like him would have just spent a few bucks on books, at least as much as they spent on deserts, maybe this wouldn't be happening. But I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong to feel that way. Maybe the bookstores are providing a community service to students in exchange for a little good will.
I remember when I first moved to Fayetteville and I did not have a job, friends and family, so I used to go frequently to the bookstore and spent many hours there, lost in the reading of different kinds of books, eating a delicious desert, with the help of such as wonderful workers who were ready to help every customer.
I was so excited about living so close to Barnes & Noble that I decided to get the membership card to buy books. I got many dictionaries and books, which helped me to improve my vocabulary.
Then I began working and on my days off I decided to spend one hour in the store reading motivational books and other kinds of magazines. Doing the same activity during the past two years has helped me in the process of improving my English, since my first language is not English.
During the times that I spent in the store I noticed that a lot of young people were there reading books, magazines and eating a delicious dessert as well. I think that this class of business should remain open. This book store is something positive for our Fayetteville community.
I was thinking what can I do to impede the closing of Barnes & Noble, so I thought I do not have the money to allow for the store to remain open but I have feelings, thoughts, ideas, knowledge which I have gained during my entire life from books that I had read, some of them found in that precious store. I decided to write this letter to make everybody think: What can I do to stop Barnes & Noble from closing?
Don't miss the comments from Janda and Martha. Both speak from bookstore clerking experience and what they have to say is not pretty, especially Martha's definition of "soiled."