LDS Bookstores: What is your role?

I believe most true readers have had, at least at some point in their lives, a love affair with either a bookstore or a library. I still love getting lost among bookshelves, happening on some gem of a work that I never knew existed, or glancing into a book I’ve heard of only to emerge, disoriented, hours later, sometimes after extreme journeys in time and space.

But I can count on one hand the LDS Bookstores in which I’ve had that experience. Its not that LDS Bookstores are small (I’ve had this kind of experience in small bookstores), nor is it that they are mostly chain stores (I’ve had the kind of experience I’m talking about in several Barnes & Nobels, as well as in a few Borders stores). Nor is it the quality of the help — I almost never talk to the help or seek their advice (I only talk to staff when I know they know their stuff — or when I’m trying to make sales contacts).

It could simply be that I’m the wrong kind of customer for most LDS bookstores — that there aren’t enough readers like me. But if that’s the case, can someone please explain what the role of LDS Bookstores is or should be?

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Out-of-Print Mormon Lit

In a comment on my recent post, Looking at Our Niche Comprehensively, William wrote the following:

And he and I actually had the same idea — I think creating and prioritizing a list of out-of-print titles is a great idea. Last night, I was trying to come up with some ways to do so that goes beyond just having people post comments and/or e-mail Kent (both of which would be fine, but some sort of running polling system would be cool).

William is right that putting together such a list would be very useful. And since this is a part of my publishing program, I thought I should respond in a little more detail and point out some difficulties.
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