I don't think there is a type of shop in the world that can absorb time quite like a bookshop. My ability to walk in purposefully and get totally sidetracked within seconds is amazing. If I ever early for something and need to use up some time I head into a bookstore and usually leave running late.
Yesterday my bookish friends lead me to this fantastic article on The World's Most Inspiring Bookstores. Every single one of them is now on my must see list (that theater in Buenos Aires and the staircase in Porto are particularly phenomenal). My local bookstore, Daltons, may not be an architectural marvel but it is filled with wonderful books.
I prefer small bookshops. The big chain stores may have everything, but I find the service and quality of small bookshops much more satisfying.
I went looking today for a children's book and the people in Daltons were (as always) so very helpful and knowledgeable, but along the way I got distracted by numerous things. Gorgeous coffee table books, tiny funny books, interesting sounding novels. The staff know about every book and point me in the right direction, effortlessly finding great things for me.
I may love technology, but I just doubt that I will ever feel the same way about an e-reader as I do about the books that line my shelves. So my custom at least is guaranteed for those wonderful bookshops.