I never felt caught up in the whole "shop indie bookstores thing." I mean, I'm all for local, but I'm also for, well, local that makes sense. For instance, local clothing stores that sell cheap, fast fashion clothing don't make sense to me; I'd rather shop at a chain store and get good quality clothing that'll last me for years. This is a completely irrelevant analogy for bookstores; basically I'm just trying to say that I don't want to say something. I want to do something. I don't want to say, oh, yes, everyone, support your local bookstore when I know I'm just going to buy majority of my books from Barnes & Noble.
I've always liked Barnes & Noble. Back when it was Borders and Barnes & Noble, I preferred the latter because of the earthier, more Old World design versus the modern look of the former. Barnes & Noble has a wide selection, not quite every book on earth, sure, but as many as they can fit on their shelves. They always give good service, too, whether it's just in ringing me up or in helping me find something. If there's a book I want to buy on the day it comes out, I know they'll have it on the day it comes out.
Now people are starting to say, it doesn't matter if it's local or a chain, just support bookstores in general. Isn't that what I was saying all along?
Sure, indie bookstores are great; I'm not debating that. Changing Hands is the famous one in the Phoenix area. But I don't live super close to either of their locations, so quite frankly Barnes & Noble is more convenient for me to go to on a regular basis. Bright Side Bookshop in Flagstaff is cool, too. Places like this you might be able to get more local-centered titles, or even great non-book items like shirts and other merch from Out of Print. Cards and notebooks, too.
But I tend to go to indie bookstores more like I go to cute stores like The Hummingbird House in Sedona (which sells decor, perfume, jewelry, a few antiques, etc.) I go to some used book places, too, sometimes. And I buy a decent amount of books at museums and places like that. I go to Barnes & Noble, as I mentioned, for the bulk of my books, though. New books, like Star Wars books. Classics that I've decided I finally want to read. Books that I discover just from browsing. And chain or no chain, I like shopping there. Because bookstores are great.