A long time ago I went to places like this and picked poetry books off the shelf and flipped through them and then handed money to a person (who gave me change and put the books in a bag) and then I walked out the door and the books were mine.
Now I do covert binges on amazon where I order $150 worth of poetry books in one shot, some books because I want them, others because I recognize the names from somewhere. Then I forget about it until a box shows up on my doorstep.
There are still probably 40-50 books at any given time that I want to get my hands on, but never think of when I'm binging, because it's a binge, and not entirely premeditated. It's like coming home from work on a day that you had a crummy lunch, and just eating peanut butter with a spoon the minute you walk into the kitchen.
I tired that amazon wish list thing, but you never remember the triscuits in the cupboard when you're opening the peanut butter jar, right?
I think my poetry book purchasing habits would be completely different if I could actually peruse and feel the books beforehand. I don't know if I'd buy more or less, but I think I'd probably buy differently.
How do you buy poetry? How could poetry buying be better? Do you like the idea of poetry book subscriptions, etc? Does anyone else miss bookstores that carry small press titles (and litmags)? Or are you lucky enough to have one?