The Barnes and Noble bookstore is a kind of an enclosed world and you can learn more about the world in the bookstore than you can out in the world.
You can learn about business, science, urban design (a subject always on my back burner, since I live in the city) and, Well—any other subject whose display you walk past. (Except sex, of course).
In o. words you can learn about the real world. How much can you learn about the real world by walking down the street? Nothing. You can learn that Dunkin' Donuts is still in business. Wowie-Zowie. No, you learn far more by reading books.
A long time ago, in the dinosaur age, book stores were premised on the notion that customers ought to buy books. Properly speaking, they ought to not only buy them but bring them home and read them there (after of course paying for that privilege). No way! That only works with sex books! Proper bookstores today are neon-fluorescent lit outposts of light. (Ever hear of "City Lights"? The bookstore? In S. F? duh...) Sorry....neon-lit outposts of light in a cold world, where infinity goes up on trial (sorry, Bob, you did not know what you were doing on that one) and where the knowledge of the spheres is on display, for our satisfactory gawking.
They do most of their business on-line anyways. So the world becomes San Francisco, and the Museum becomes Barnes and Noble. (Update: Jane Addams' Hull House just closed but the Hull House Museum is still open.) (And the truth is that the beggars in the few blocks around Michigan Ave, downtown Chicago, are something I don't think anybody quite knows what to do with. They need a place. Not Barnes and Noble. Why not give them a hang-out like everyone else has? Then you can tell them to go there and get off the street and stop ruining the downtown basically. Not that I don't feel for them. I do and I'm getting sick of feeling for them, and not knowing what to do or how much to give; now I just look downward as I walk by.)