Vol. 1 Brooklyn has a great post today about what your literary tote bag says about you. (Though in my defense, I own and love my Strand tote -- in Spanish! -- and I never went to NYU.)
There is definitely a secret hierarchy of these tote bags. No one respects my Auntie's Bookstore tote, even though it has a lot of sentimental value to me; if I wanted to consciously show off I'd be better off with my Harper Perennial bag. If you carry this, you probably go to a lot of readings in bars. Actually, I went to a HP reading in a bar, so it fits.
I need another tote bag like I need more books in the house, but my next acquisition is likely to be a Greenlight Bookstore tote. If you carry this, this says you roll your eyes violently when people act like traveling to Brooklyn is a hardship. (Guilty.)
But in my mind, the ultimate status book tote is one that can no longer be bought because not only does the original bookstore not exist, the bookstore that bought its name is now out of business (or in deep trouble; I can't remember). I can't even find a picture of this rare bird but here is a photo of the store's old sign:
If you carry a Labyrinth Books tote you have roots on the UWS pre-2005 and you prefer hardcovers to ARCs. Also, I envy you.
4 hours ago