Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Valley River Center
1163 Valley River Center
Eugene, OR
(541) 687-0356

See this location on a map rating: 1 vote, average: 4.00 out of 51 vote, average: 4.00 out of 51 vote, average: 4.00 out of 51 vote, average: 4.00 out of 51 vote, average: 4.00 out of 5


OK, so maybe you’ve already read the Border’s review on Eugenified, and you are still searching for that perfect megabookstore to take advantage of, i.e. read their books for free while drinking a tall double-shot decaf non-fat latte. Barnes & Noble at Valley River Center is really the only other option to consider. But does it meet the stringent requirements of fine connoisseur free book readers?

Before I dig into Barnes, let me first clarify that I am a big supporter of local bookstores. Admittedly, from time to time, I compare prices online and harangue the local bookseller to match those prices (they nearly always agree to do so)…hey, I’m a supporter, not a friggin’ ATM machine! Anyways, the point I want to make is this: Buy books at local bookstores, but read books for free and drink lattes at Barnes & Noble or Borders (if you can stand the stinky feet and Parisian seating). OK. That should shut the mouths of all the Eugene Weekly readers. Now, onward!

First of all, let me say that I am generally annoyed with Barnes & Noble because they don’t give their customers access to a computer look-up system to help find books. Instead, you have to search around for one of their randomly placed employees (new faces every month, so the pay must not be very good), and ask them to go behind the counter and look up your book for you. Aside from the obvious privacy issue, this is annoying to the utmost. I’ve been informed by my nephew that other outlets of Barnes & Noble do actually have consumer accessible computers, so I guess this is just a quirk of the Eugene outlet. At least, it gives me a good argument to support my “free reading policy” at that store.

The good news is that the Eugene Barnes & Noble has an awesome seating area: comfortable tables and chairs with enough room in between to partially avoid hearing neighboring conversations (see below). They also have a very few super comfortable sofa chairs sprinkled about the store, but you need to have weasel-like reflexes in order to snag one of those. On this subject, I should warn you that those soft chairs all have big spikes in the cushions and creepy bugs hiding underneath, so you should stay away from them at all costs.

Some bad news: Sometimes you will be seated in Barnes & Noble’s coffee area when there happens to be one of those writer’s club meetings. You will then know the meaning of the phrase “recipe for disaster”…namely: four pretentious writers, drinking lots of coffee, talking about their books, and pretending to be interested in the suggestions of their untalented competitors. There is no humanly possible way to block out their long-winded babblosity, so your only choice will be to move to the other side of the cafe seating area.

More bad news: The workers in the pseudo-Starbucks cafe (it is not owned or run directly by Starbucks…it’s just “serving Starbucks coffee”) have apparently been instructed to talk endlessly and loudly about their teen-angst filled lives in order to drive away the cheap customers who are reading books for free (me and you). Here’s a real example of what this torture feels like (based on my reading of the very serious book, The God Delusion):

They are not psychotic; they are religious idealists who, by their own lights, are rational. So then I’m, like, “whatever!” And then she goes, “Don’t go their girl”. They perceive their acts to be good, not because of some warped personal idiosyncrasy, Oh my god, I can’t believe she said that. Are you totally serious? Oh my god! and not because they have been possessed by Satan, but because they have been brought up to have I really hate it when they schedule me to work during the afternoon. It just so totally sucks total and unquestioning faith.

To avoid their IQ-draining verbosity, it’s best to sit on the east side of the cafe where there is at least some sort of medium high wall to block out the sound. Unfortunately, that’s also the place that the writer’s club members like to sit…

Still, in comparison to the slumdog seating over at Borders, Barnes & Noble wins the competition hands down. So, until a better option comes along, you can expect to see Mr. Eugenified frequently ensconced at Valley River Center Barnes & Noble, reading free books and drinking lattes, and trying to avoid the sharp spikes and creepy bugs in the soft sofa chairs. See you there! rating: 1 vote, average: 4.00 out of 51 vote, average: 4.00 out of 51 vote, average: 4.00 out of 51 vote, average: 4.00 out of 51 vote, average: 4.00 out of 5