I Miss Mall Bookstores

lAAR’s Ellen Micheletti was recently mourning the sad passing of a Waldenbooks in her town in Kentucky.  I well know the feeling.

Until about five years ago, there were two malls in my area — Tysons Corner in Virginia and Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, Maryland — that were the best places to find romance novels.  The B. Dalton in Tysons and the Waldenbooks in Maryland were part of what used to be ubiquitous mall chains.

What made them so special?  For a while there — and I’m talking five or more years — each store was lovingly tended by people who knew and cared about romance.  Books were shelved face out, letting publisher art departments do their job by inviting the reader to pick up a book and read the back copy. Books were also shelved on a regular basis so it actually paid to check back in frequently to see what new treasures might have arrived since my last visit.

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