At the start of December, I shared my excitement that a BAM was moving into the large store standing empty after the demise of Borders. I spent so many hours in Borders, writing in the cafe, browsing through magazines and enjoying ice coffee. Even after I owned an eReader, I would purchase some books and carry a stack to the cafe where I would peruse the first chapters to decide if I wanted it as an ebook.
The first time I visited BAM, they had hurried their opening to attract customers on Black Friday. It was a mess and the cafe wasn't open. Books were stacked sideways on the shelf and often in the wrong genre sections. I reserved my judgement. The second time I went in, the shelves were better organized though not very full. I couldn't find a single book on my list of 'want to read.' The worker in the cafe didn't understand how to make an ice coffee and called a manager. I eventually asked for just an ice tea but they didn't have any. Settled for a bottled juice. I still didn't write them off.
I went in before Christmas to get a requested book for my daughter. Finally found someone to help me. It was a new release by a successful author. They had two copies on the shelf and none on the new release tables up front. Okay. My dear husband bought me a BAM gift card for Christmas so I spend a few hours in there yesterday. I'm still disappointed at the number of books on their shelves. (They don't even have mine! LOL) They have large, messy tables of clearance books that remind me of Sam's Club. I walked around most of the storm to find an employee to ask a question about their calendars.
My daughter and I spent an hour or so in the cafe while she decided which book to buy with a rare 50% off coupon. We didn't buy a drink from the limited menu. We went to Starbucks after ward for our favorites. The cafe has too few tables, giving it a cold, empty feel. And it is empty compared to how it was when Borders ran it. And so was the parking lot, relatively speaking. Borders at Christmas time was packed with the checkout line snaking to the back of the store. I usually had to park at the very end of the big lot. Not the same for BAM.
I want to have a local bookstore, but I'm not a fan of BAM. I'll still go on occasion, but it won't be a can't miss destination for me. And as with my last post, I wonder if it can survive. The service and atmosphere provided by BAM isn't comparable to B&N or the now-gone Borders. Will they last? I'm not going to hold onto my gift card for long, in case I don't get to use it.
Some of you lovely readers shared your opinions on BAM when I first mentioned they were moving into my neighborhood. I know BAM has taken over more Borders than just my own. Any thoughts on your new stores? I already know L. Diane Wolfe's. She's a smart lady and I'm starting to agree with her.