Bookstores require the same quiet reverence as a library or hospital. Alas, today's book-buyers are evidently ignorant of true bookstore etiquette, so let's create a list for them, shall we?
- Be quiet. Speak softly. Folks are making big decisions here, decisions that may change their lives in incalculable ways. That's what books do. Show some dignity and respect. Keep the rumpus in the children's section, where the wild things are.
- No cellphone conversations. No cellphone ringing. In short, nothing that causes you to speak incredibly and offensively loud, or buzzes, chirps, or plays music you think is cool but the rest of us thinks is just pathetic.
- Parents must refrain from loud, blow-by-blow descriptions of their children's antics and silly, show-offy questions with the sole purpose of exhibiting the little darlings' intelligence levels. No one is amused. No one cares if your kid can name the planets or balance three books on his/her head.
- Patrons should be aware of other book-browsers on the aisle with them. Don't hog one area, or lounge against a shelf while you wait for your girlfriend to finish cruising the fitness books three rows over.
- If you must walk between a patron and a shelf she/he is browsing, say "Excuse me."
- If you pull a book off a shelf, please replace it exactly where you got it.
- Make sure your hands are clean. Don't leave any schmutz on a book. "You schmutz it, you buy it."
- No protests within 100 yards of a bookstore. (There was a noisy protest outside of Barnes & Noble on Lex/86th today. Something about Staples, which is next door to B&N, killing puppies. I can't figure out how an office supply store kills puppies, but the cause lost my support the instant the protesters interrupted my quiet bookstore time.)
- Don't put your Starbucks double-latte-Italiano-frothy-wonder-mocha cup on a stack of sale-table books. You shouldn't even have that stuff anywhere near the books. Stick to the cafe area.
- Be sweet. (OK, this isn't just about bookstores; this is about life in general.)
- If you have gas, please be kind enough to step outside until it passes.
- Turn down your iPod. Nobody wants to hear that tinny earphone noise when they're browsing.
- Do NOT proffer unwanted criticism of each and every book other patrons are holding to browse through.
- Do NOT hold books upside down while loudly proclaiming "I'm Australian". Yes, this has actually happened to me.
- Do not smoke in the bookstore.
Anything to add? (Thanks Anon and Jo and Stu for the additions - in red.)