coffee and mags
normally I prefer the small independent bookstores to the larger chains like barnes and noble and borders. with the smaller bookstores the staff get to know your preferneces, your style, your personailty and therefore often recommend books that you may have passed up. you also get to know the staff and their preferneces and so when they recommend something you know that it will be worthwhile.
but I must say the larger chains do have their strong points. one of them being that most of them have a cafť and so you can get a stack of magazines, you know the ones that you would love to buy but are $15 each, get a coffee and spend 3 hours flipping through the magazines, getting ideas and reading the articles.
I usually do this about once a month. I love it. and you arenít made to feel like a cheapskate for doing it.