There are an abundant amount different kinds of bookstores across the country. You have the well-known chains like Barnes & Noble, Borders, Half Price Books, and then you have your local tiny independent bookstores that have been around forever, (some even too small to be mentioned, but doesn’t make them not as popular among faithful their clients).
This is how I think they compare, they don’t! Each bookstore has their own “thing/things” that makes them different. One is not better than the other, it’s just different. It can also be various things too — like a cafe in the store, a gift section, couches and comfortable chairs, a certain employee, or even the way the store is designed. I go to two bookstores within the same chain, miles away from each other, and I like them both equally, though they are very very different.
When I walk into a bookstore and as a book lover, I’m amazed at the beauty of seeing real books on the shelves, much more so than the popular electronic book gadgets, (the Nook and Kindle, for example). I have nothing against these gadgets, but doesn’t everyone love the smell of flipping through a book? If books become obsolete, which I’m sure they eventually will, what will happen to the large chain stores, book tours and autographs?
As far as the sweet small town bookstores (some which aren’t in small town, it’s more of the type of store), they seem to be disappearing, which I think is sad. They are no longer the same, thanks to their larger competition. (For an idea of an independent small book store, watch the movie You’ve Got Mail, with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks).
In the end, a bookstore is a bookstore, and they are all trying to do the same thing — sell the book that the author has put his or her heart into.