Where do you buy most of your books? No one is judging!
First of all, let me say that sometimes I look around and I'm pretty sure they just come creeping in the windows at night, because there's no WAY they all could have gotten in the door with me. I would remember buying thousands of books, right? I estimate my classroom library to be about 500 volumes, with loads more--maybe another 500 or so--in my apartment. Someday I will really catalog them all. Someday. Right now I have a GoogleDoc of my classroom books, but I know many of them will have walked away by the end of the year.
So anyway, where do they come from???
1) I have to cop to an old and undying love of Barnes and Noble. As a child, we went to the library a LOT, and I didn't have a lot of opportunities to buy books. Don't get me wrong--I LOVED my library, a lot. And I also loved the occasions when my parents would take me to the little WaldenBooks at our local mall, and I could pick out a book from the like, three shelves of children's books. But I will never forget my first trip to Barnes and Noble. I must have been about seven, which is when I got the horsey bug bad and couldn't get enough of Marguerite Henry. So anyway, I had never been to a freestanding bookstore before, ok? Just a little one tucked into the mall. And then one day my parents drove the twenty minutes or so to the Barnes and Noble in the next town over. And you guys. For whatever reason, there was a Marguerite Henry display in the window, with the books, and some hay, and I don't know, that was probably really all it was, but. It was like a palace for books. It was bigger than my library, even (and we went to the central branch which is pretty big and nice.) And my very very very favorite books were in the window, with horsey stuff around them--if you listen carefully, you can still hear the echoes of my tiny little mind EXPLODING WITH JOY. So, Barnsey, you will always be my first bookstore love.
2) We also have some great indie bookstores near us, and I try to patronize them as much as I can. Favorites include BookBook, Three Lives and Company, and Books of Wonder. Three Lives is especially well-curated--whenever I go in there, my immediate reaction is, "I want EVERY ONE OF THESE BOOKS." Books of Wonder wins the "Happiest Place" award, as it is both a truly excellent children's/YA bookstore AND a cupcake bakery. (Think Meg Ryan's bookstore in You've Got Mail, then add cupcakes.) I have to be careful with my wallet in these stores, because the awesomeness is so highly concentrated. In a store like Barnes and Noble, there's a lot I don't want mixed in...but not so much at places like these. Recently, I pulled my husband in to Three Lives and pointed out books I wanted for Christmas--and made him promise to buy them there, which he did! (And, since it's such an awesome place, he was inspired to add a few to the list--score!)
3) The Kindle store. Hmmph. I am really ambivalent about my Kindle. On the one hand, I mean, it's awesome. Because I am Rory Gilmore.So being able to carry around a bus book and a backup book and a backup bus book (or in my case, train books) got a lot easier with the Kindle. On the other hand...I love having actual books. And now that I'm starting to follow some of the business pieces of the book industry, I have some anxiety over e-book pricing, etc. But for the time being, while I have an hour-long commute with a hill on one end and a 3rd-floor walkup on the other, I will be Kindling at least some of the time.
4) DonorsChoose. Technically, I'm not buying these books, and they aren't mine, but they live in my classroom library and I get to pick them out. I'm super grateful to the people who have donated books to my classroom in the past--I've gotten four projects funded, all books: a fiction mix, a non-fiction mix, and twenty copies each of Catching Fire and Mockingjay (our school bought class sets of The Hunger Games last year so I had a lot of desperate students.)