1. Since the West University Branch is the one closest to my house I decided to look for bookstores in that area rather than the Adm. building. The bookstores that I found are Brazos Books on Bissonnet (my favorite bookstore in Houston), Murder by the Book (also on Bissonnet) and Half-price Books on University at Kirby. Brazos has a wonderful website: http://brazos.booksense.com/NASApp/store/IndexJsp They include many features including what Houston is reading, Brazos picks, Brazos Kids, Indie picks, and information about upcoming events and signings.
Murder by the book also has a great website: http://www.murderbooks.com/ with award winners, book discussion group events, book signings, best sellers, and a lot more.
Half-price books books has a store locator and map for the specific store I choose but individual stores don't seem to have their own websites.
2. When I searched Barbara Kingsolver in the search field at the Brazos bookstore website I got 72 hits. One of her latest books Animal,Vegetable, Miracle is available in all of these formats: 26.95 (hc), 14.95 (pbk), 39.95 or 99.95 (CD), Audiocassette (94.55), Adobe, Microsoft and Palm e-reader (all 11.95).
3. I went to the HCPL website and tried to download a book. First I had to install an Adobe program and while I was there decided to look through their (Adobe's) selection of books. I downloaded The Geography of Bliss: One Man's Search for the Happiest Places on Earth / by Eric Weiner. I didn't actually download the whole book, but the introduction and contents. Then I went back to HCPL and downloaded The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie Book / by Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough. Even though I don't cook or bake I like looking through recipes. This book has some wonderful recipes including one chocolate cookie made with tofu!
I work in 2 libraries and live withing walking distance of 2 major bookstores so I probably won't download ebooks I also prefer to have an actual book in my hand. I would have loved this when I was a child because I never had enough books to read. ebooks would be great for people in rural areas or for people who for one reason or another can't leave their home.