When I visit a bookshop, I tend to go to the same sections first, every time. It varies from shop to shop, of course. In my own shop, I'm usually there to work, so I'd leave my belongings out back first. That in mind, we'll leave my own shop off the list.
Let's take Chapters, though. It's a big bookshop in Dublin, with a huge range, and I always find myself tucked away in the corner of the Business section first (unless it's been a while, in which case I have a look at the tables at the front for some good deals I'll only end up ignoring anyway.) I don't know why, but I always browse the Business section, even when I know I won't be buying anything.
From there, I move on to have a look at the books on writing, then to the Children's section, for the YA books. Following that, I end up looking at Classics and Science Fiction. Every time, even when I'm just trying to pass the time.
A similar path is taken in Eason on O'Connell Street. Business, Writing, then over to the Personal Development section, and back upstairs to the Teen section. But that's about it. Unless I'm getting stationary, I tend not to buy anything in the shop at all - not unless I've never seen it anywhere else before!
With Hodges Figgis, the journey is a little bit different - right to the top, and work my way down from the Writing section. I go through all the usual places, while I'm doing that, but I always seem to want to start at the uppermost level. It's a habit, and I don't intend on breaking it. It is, after all, where I found Screenplay by Syd Field.
The big three out of the way, there's really only one other bookshop I like to visit whenever I'm near it - The Gutter Bookshop, on Cow's Lane. It's small, but it's one of the nicest shops in the city. Plus, the owner, Bob, shares some of my interest in books - he's the only other person I know who reads Andrew Kaufman's books, and it was thanks to his interest in Kaufman's books that I was able to get my hands on Born Weird last summer. So thanks, Bob!
When I visit The Gutter Bookshop, I literally do a lap of the entire shop. Their range isn't huge, but they stock lots of titles you wouldn't find anywhere else - because no one else seems to realise they'll sell! Thanks to the size of the shop, people who go in looking for something to read usually end up with something that most Irish bookshops don't sell. Bob makes use of an American supplier that many find too inconvenient. The end result is that he gets to stock niche books for his very popular Indie bookshop.
What about you? What's your first stop in a bookshop?