Sunday, June 17, 2012

The death and life of the bookstore

Krochs and Brentanos, Stuart Brent, Bookman's Alley, Prairie Avenue Bookshop, Crown Books, B. Dalton, Borders, and now Mr. Paperback. It doesn't take a genius to realize that these are tough times for the book business as independents and big chain book stores are shutting their doors at an alarming rate.

It's not difficult to see why, given all the diversions of our lives; the trend away from reading, the easy access of on-line information and on-line shopping, and the advent of the e-book.

Still there's nothing better than the intimacy of reading words printed on wood pulp, and bound together with book cloth and board. Some of my most cherished possessions are the books on my shelves, objects that withstood the test of time, which guided and inspired me along the intellectual journeys of my life. I've shed some of the books I've owned over my life, but few of them. On my bookshelves I still can find countless novels, some read, some not, math and science textbooks from high school and college, several books on foreign languages I studied at one time or other (never successfully), books on obsolete computer languages, and a book on how to build a harpsichord. One simply never knows when they may come in handy. Perhaps the most cherished are the ones I read to my children once upon a time. These volumes represent chapters of my life, and I'm not ready to let go of them, maybe I never will.

It's' hard to make the comparison with words floating around in cyber-space and arranged on an LCD monitor, although I'm glad they're there.

The bookstore my family usually visits is a big national chain that sells coffee and more and more bric-a-brac every day. Yet as my children are becoming passionate readers, they too appreciate the concept of the bookstore as a destination.

Here's an article from the blog Gaper's Block on that very subject with perhaps some good news for all of us who bemoan the possible loss of a wonderful part of our lives.

1 comment:

ashu said...

i wanna suggest you online books store from which you can buy books online with good discount prices