I’ve been to Capital Hill Books once and while it was a very impressive bookstore, I also left feeling very lucky one of those stacks had not collapsed on me. Serious feelings of claustrophobia there.
Today I visited two bookstores. The first was the Symposium store (one of at least two) just off Brown University’s campus. It was like a used bookstore for new books. I think they must buy remainders because it’s the only way to account for the quantity of books (few titles, but many copies of those titles) and deep discounts (probably better than Amazon could do). This was still a very attractively arranged store, and while crowded, did not anywhere nearly hit the claustrophobic “I am going to die buried under a stack of books” like the second bookstore I encountered.
The second place was a used bookstore in Salem called, I believe, Darby’s. Holy claustrophobia, Batman. Just check out the enclosed photo to see how amazing it is that staff were able to find specific titles. When books are stacked like that I think it is pretty impressive they were able to remove specific titles without bringing the whole stack down upon themselves.