The Last Page

The Last Page

In my Upper West Side neighborhood in New York, the latest in-spot is a bookstore. That a bookstore should have such drawing power says much about my neighbors. But it also says much about the bookstore—a new Barnes & Noble superstore.

In contrast to most large bookstores, which—with their wide aisles and glaring fluorescent lights—resemble supermarkets, the new Barnes & Noble is all understatement. It has soft green carpets, inset bookcases, brass light fixtures, and instead of bright signs advertising discounts, its walls are hung with framed caricatures of famous writers. Parts of the store even have William Morris wallpaper. If the bookstore suggests anything, it is an old-fashioned library. You have to look closely

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Lima