I'm trying to change my habits & shop more locally - it's mostly easy & fun for food, mostly difficult and irritating for household goods, art supplies, and books. I'm interested in your suggestions in all of these areas, but books especially.
My last visit to Barnes & Nobel (not as local as a non-international chain, I know) will likely be my last - a huge section for religion, even the "religious fiction" (redundant & irrelevant to me personally) sub-section of the "religion" religion section is larger than the "philosophy" section, where the very small selection of atheist books are. No "Hating God", none of Dawkins newer books, no Christopher Hitchens at all - not one time I have checked have they had any Hitch. How could that be?
What was even somehow worse was that in the whole pretty-huge store there was not one book on Gilgamesh; not the newer translation I've been looking for, not a bad translation, a Cliff Notes version, an illustrated kids book, zilch. When I asked the counter guy, he said they could order me a book: "there are a load of books on that subject!" - he seemed not to recognize the name of one of literature's greatest epic heroes and thought it would encourage me that they could potentially order me one of the many, many books on "that subject" not deemed as worthy of shelf space as the trendy diet junk and angel books that clog the store. OK, my own fault for trying that.
Frugal Must though, is only a little better - local, but not much for the discerning Atheist, and no freethinker-ish kids books. I have a huge list of freethought, skepticism, evolution, etc kids books at Amazon, and can't find them at the Muse as much as I'd like to; and again they have no shortage of books on angels and the "history of the bible" and all that crap.
I do like their general modern literature selection for the most part, and their "eco/green" selection, of books, but would love to find some "green" paper & office supplies too, for making non-toxic Saturnalia cards & whatnot. I also buy a ton of sci-fi books & always want to hear about stores with a good sci-fi selection. I already know about Misty Mountain Games, I liked that game store before I even moved here! :-)
By local I mean stores owned & operated by folks in the Madison area - Southern Wisconsin bookstores.
Let me know if you have suggestions here. Hope you're all enjoying the nice, crisp weather. - Carolyn