I have the updated edition which includes more essays - the number is 96 essays in my updated edition.
It should be noted that the book only concerns North American bookstores (though only two are from Canada, and there are none from Mexico). Additionally, it is bookstores that sell new books (or new and used books), so a straightforward used bookstore wouldn't make the cut, so no bookstores like the excellent Word in Montreal.
This is a collection of essays from various writers about their favorite bookstore. As such the essays run from wonderful to meh. Some of the writers do focus a bit too much on their own book signings. Which is strange because while that might want to make an another author use the book stores as a publicity stop, readers will be looking for far more than that.
The majority of the stores are from California because of reasons, I guess. (Look, you should know that I am peeved that Joseph Fox did not make it into this book. Damnit Rice, you're from Philly, you should know). There also is a bit too much bashing of Amazon, ereaders, Borders, and Barnes and Noble. Look, I get it, but not everyone who uses those places neglects Indies. I use my kindle because on a hour commute it is hecka a lot easier to carry then a book and spare.
One of the best essays is Laurent DuBois' whose selection includes a drawing from his son. Isabel Allende's essay is also wonderful. Another stand out is Peter Geye. In fact, several essays will make you not only want to go to the bookstore in question but read works by the author.
I was surprised Paragraphe didn't make it, though Type Books in Toronto did. (I've been to that one).
Anne Haywood Leal's essay is most likely the best.
There is a Laurie R King essay and a Henry Louis Gates Jr essay. (Did you know that he has a hamburger named after him? Neither did I).
I think though, my favorite is the combined entry of Daniel Handler (a certain LS) and Lisa Brown, which is done in graphic novel format and features drinking.
The best essays are the ones highlight the love of reader finding a perfect store.