Inverarity (inverarity) wrote in bookish,
Inverarity
inverarity
bookish

Saturday Book Discussion: Bookstores


Bye bye Borders

RIP Bookstores?




The first time I ever walked into a big box mega bookstore, I was in love. Look. At. All. Those. Books!

Of course, those big box stores soon came to represent the face of Corporate Evil. As we learned in You've Got Mail, big megastores crushed beloved little independent neighborhood bookstores beneath their cloven boots. (An ironic message coming from a movie that was a 2-hour advertisement for AOL.)


You've Got Mail

You think I'm evil. But someday,
a great beast shall arise from out of Seattle,
having seven heads and ten horns,
and his name shall be Jeff Bezos.



Yeah, those shitty little neighborhood bookstores that always had a fucking cat around underfoot and the smell of mold in the shelves? Screw them. Gimme a nice, well-lighted store with a cafe and a decent chance of finding a book I am looking for any day. That is not to say that nice independent stores do not exist. In university towns, it can be fun to go book browsing in specialty bookstores. Ditto major cities -- New York and the Bay Area are full of bookstores that aren't just chains or cat-infested hole-in-the-wall places.

However, finding a good bookstore is getting harder and harder. Borders Books was not the first big chain to fail, just the latest.

Anybody remember these guys?

B. Dalton Books

Walden Books

Crown Books


In my area, the only places left are Barnes & Noble (which is okay, but the nearest one is about 20 miles away and small), Books A Million (which was always a sort of poor man's Borders), and a few lingering hole-in-the-wall used bookstores with fucking cats.

All right, I admit it, nowadays, when I actually buy a physical book (which is rare: ebooks for the win!) I usually order it from Amazon.

Look, that's forty miles I am not driving - think green!

No, really, as much as I dislike Amazon for some of their business tactics, if I didn't order from Amazon I'd still order online. And I'm still going to prefer ebooks to print books for a bunch of reasons.

But I admit, when I am near a Barnes & Noble or some other decent bookstore with a nice cafe, there is nothing like sitting down amidst a bunch of books and taking in the... bookish ambiance.

There is much angst in the bookselling world over Amazon and ebooks. Ebooks, it is inevitable, will become a medium that largely replaces print books. But physical books will never go away, and I predict that in 50 years, bookstores will still be around. But they will probably be tiny and specialized, catering to collectors and other special needs, and most physical books will be produced by sophisticated print-on-demand devices right there in the store. If Barnes & Noble still exists as a company, it won't be one with millions of square feet of retail space in shopping malls across the country.

Do you view the coming demise of (most) bookstores with dread? Do you have a local bookstore you really love? Do you know of any independent stores that have managed to thrive in a world dominated by big box chains, Amazon, and ebooks?

Poll #1863860 bookstores

How often do you visit a physical bookstore?

Often! (At least once a week.)
27(23.7%)
Sometimes. (Every few weeks.)
48(42.1%)
Now and then. (A few times a year.)
29(25.4%)
Hardly ever or never.
10(8.8%)

Do you think bookstores will become extinct?

No. Too many people like them, they will always be around.
54(47.4%)
A few will remain, in larger cities, but most are going to disappear.
57(50.0%)
Yes. None will remain aside from a few small, specialty outlets.
3(2.6%)

What do you think of Amazon.com?

It is the devil! We can blame Amazon for much that's wrong with the publishing industry today.
2(1.8%)
Not particularly fond of Amazon, but it's awfully convenient.
46(41.1%)
Eh, just another online retailer. And sooner or later, the competition will eat them too.
34(30.4%)
Love it! Super-saver shipping and Amazon Prime all the way, baby!
30(26.8%)





Previous Saturday Book Discussions.
Tags: discussion
Subscribe

  • Terminus, by Peter Clines

    A sequel to 14, in which the Great Old Ones arrive to eat the world. Kavach Press, 2020, 333 pages Murdoch’s past has finally come…

  • Burr, by Gore Vidal

    Aaron Burr in his own words... kind of. Random House, 1973, 430 pages Here is an extraordinary portrait of one of the most complicated -…

  • Aria: The Masterpiece, Volume 2

    Aria: The Masterpiece, Volume 2 by Kozue Amano Further life on the wet Mars, now known as Aqua. Akari helps a lost visitor, learns about the…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 26 comments
Previous
← Ctrl ← Alt
Next
Ctrl → Alt →
Previous
← Ctrl ← Alt
Next
Ctrl → Alt →

  • Terminus, by Peter Clines

    A sequel to 14, in which the Great Old Ones arrive to eat the world. Kavach Press, 2020, 333 pages Murdoch’s past has finally come…

  • Burr, by Gore Vidal

    Aaron Burr in his own words... kind of. Random House, 1973, 430 pages Here is an extraordinary portrait of one of the most complicated -…

  • Aria: The Masterpiece, Volume 2

    Aria: The Masterpiece, Volume 2 by Kozue Amano Further life on the wet Mars, now known as Aqua. Akari helps a lost visitor, learns about the…