Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Credible Bookstore

I've had occasion to be in a number of airports during the last 5 years and I've noticed something interesting. The shopping and dining available at airports has gotten ... well ... better than I remember it in the past. This is particularly nice if you have any kind of layover or wait.

The San Francisco Airport is one of my favorite airports to hang around. I actually schedule my flights out of SF later than necessary just so I can meander around the place (shopping and dining guides). I usually get sushi or a noodle bowl at Sankaku. Then I head over to Boudin's Bakery for a loaf of bread to take home to Mr. Distortion. After that, it is onward to Peet's Coffee for a latte that I take with me to Compass Books.

Compass Books is no ordinary airport bookstore. In fact, the Books Inc. website calls it "one of the few credible airport bookstores in the world." And they aren't kidding! On my last trip, I went into the store with a list of books in the areas of classic literature, crime fiction, history, technology, and young adult fiction. I found each book on my list. Then I browsed the science fiction section, the popular culture section and the magazines. I had to catch my plane before I was finished browsing ... and yes, I must admit, purchasing.

So now my little secret is out. I keep the most patient husband in the world waiting for me to come home so I can dine and shop at the airport. Hence the guilt offering from Boudin's Bakery.

Does anyone else out there have this strange compulsion to spend time at the airport? If so, what is your favorite and why?


  1. I agree, airports do seem to have gotten better over the last several years. I was really impressed with SFO last I was there. I felt like I was really in a mall. All kinds of food and a variety of shops . . . Very nice.

  2. I don't really mind airports, especially if I'm flying off on vacation!

  3. I am lucky that my home airport is Portland International (that's the Oregon one, not Maine). While I agree that SFO is pretty nice (that was my home base for several years), PDX takes the edge for two reasons:

    1) Powell's Books. Yes, Compass is a great bookstore. But Powell's is the greatest bookstore. And, best of all (for me), it's PDX locations (there is one big one and at least one or two smaller spots in different terminals) keep with the Powell's tradition of selling used books. Used books in the airport! Extra fun!

    2) Free wi-fi. 'Nuff said.

  4. Stephanie: Yes, being on vacation makes it even better!

    Rose City Reader: I have not had the privilege of going to Powells yet, but I have visited the website and just know I would like it. The closest I've come is Bookmans in Arizona. That IS very cool having used books at the airport!

  5. Oh hell no, I get out of airports as fast as I can. Travel is really stressful for me. I'm glad you're enjoying it more than you used to, though!