Barnes & Borders
(pic taken from here)
(Still with more bookstore posts. What do you expect? When I travel, I always hit the bookshops first.)
Alas, I didn't have time to hit the small bookstores nor even the used ones in Los Angeles and San Diego. I wasn't able to check out Mystery and Imagination in Glendale. Likewise, I wasn't able to go to Mysterious Galaxy on Clairemont Mesa.
Still, I suppose if there's a monopoly of bookstore chains in the US I've constantly visited the past couple of weeks, it's the famous Barnes & Noble as well as Borders. (Or as I call it, Barnes & Borders.)
For the shopper though, the downside of bookstore chains is that their stocks are more or less all the same in their stores: you visit one B&N or Borders, you've seen all their stocks. At least with small or used bookstores, you'd get the chance of finding a book that you won't find anywhere else.
Between the two chains, I prefer the selection of Borders as they have more shelves allocated for fantasy and science fiction-- and they have more varied choices. Heck, they even have a section allocated for horror, which B&N doesn't have (though it's the first time I've seen an actual section allocated for Westerns, which B&N does). B&N's fantasy and science fiction section is respectable enough though-- I finally managed to pick up some James Lovegrove there.
(They also have free WiFi in their stores-- which, combined with their Starbucks outlets-- makes for good places to write.)
Still, I do admit there are a number of books I'd want to get from the B&N or Borders. I wouldn't mind getting a whole load of Night Shade and Tachyon books, in particular John Joseph Adam's By Blood We Live and Jonathan Strahan's Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, as well as The Best of Joe Lansdale and The Best of Michael Moorcock.
However, I have to watch my budget. And eventually, I'd have to bring all of these books home-- which will be a pain in packing and lugging around at the airport.