On my way back home, I had a two-hour layover in LAX and I didn’t know what to do with myself. Stretching, eating, roaming around and chatting on the phone only managed to burn about 45 minutes and I began feeling anxious. Wandering into one of the many bookstores, I found a title by Christopher Moore I’d been wanting to read and decided to buy it. When the register flashed $17.69 at me in bright green numerals, I was shocked! Don’t get me wrong, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal is worth every penny, but I have been shopping at used book stores and library sales for too long not to be taken aback at the price.
I reluctantly parted with almost $18, an amount that could’ve scored me possibly three or four books if I was at home, and I couldn’t help thinking about how lucky I am to live in a city that still values the entrepreneur. Although we still have access to mega-bookstores like Borders and Barnes & Noble, New Orleans can still sustain the small bookstore owners like Octavia, Maple Street and my new neighborhood haunt, Blue Cypress Books.
I had purchased my first Christopher Moore novel, Practical Demonkeeping, at Blue Cypress Books for a pittance…$6 for a trade paperback in good condition. I recently went back to fill out my library a little more, spending no more than that same $18 for two books, one a signed hardcover! The store had expanded some since my last visit, the back room became a sci-fi/fantasy area and the inventory just keeps growing.
Very often, especially on the weekends, you’ll find shelves and boxes of books being sold for as little as a fifty cents each…definitely my kind of sale. Also, the owner Elizabeth is more than willing to track down rare and out-of-print books for the avid book-hunter…like myself. I recently asked her to dig up a hardcover copy of Hip Cat, a children’s book by Jonathan London since my attempts have been completely unsuccessful. My fingers are still crossed in hopes of her prevailing where I failed so miserably.
Another really awesome thing about Blue Cypress Books is the individual attention you get from the owner who is obviously enamored with her profession. How smitten with the written word would one have to be in order to risk financial catastrophe by opening up an independent bookstore? Especially considering the warehouse store competition they’d face? Definitely a romantic vision worth supporting…
My soapbox statement for the day: Support your neighborhood bookstore and if you don’t have one in your ‘hood, you’re welcome to visit mine and stop into Blue Cypress Books at 8126 Oak Street. Not only will you be promoting small business, you’ll be preserving our unique sense of individuality…one of many qualities that makes New Orleans among the most fascinating cities in the world.