No More Bookstores?

The mere title of today’s blog sends me into cold sweats because I am a lover of books. I shudder to think what a life without bookstores would be like. A few words that instantly come to mind are: cold, sad and depressing.

We didn’t have a lot of money when I was young, so I didn’t venture into a bookstore until I got my first job in Manhattan. Entering that store was an out of body experience for me. I spent more lunch hours than I care to admit, surrounded by books, than living breathing colleagues.

As a writer, it’s important to keep up with your genre, and the quantity of new releases can add up quickly, and I was running out of shelf space. So, my husband gave me a kindle last year. I find it extremely helpful especially when traveling, instead of packing five or six books, which take up a lot of room, I can pack more clothes.

Now, a few year’s later after the battle of the big bookstore’s, I find it ironic that after putting all the small bookstore’s out of business, these large conglomerates have also put each other out of business, leaving us with one bookstore chain. One.  And I can’t help wonder how did this happen?

I talk to a lot of people who don’t buy ebooks. They want a print version. Not everyone has a computer, not everyone is going to buy a computer, and not everyone orders books on-line. So I think its always going to be important to supply readers with what they want. To do this, Amazon just isn’t going to be enough.

And one bookstore chain? Nope. I don’t think so.

Last week, a very good source told me that B&N closes twenty bookstores a year in the U.S. Call me an optimist, but I think it’s time for the re-emersion of the small bookstore. It’s time to get back in the game, boys. Whether they offer a little bit of everything, or specialize in certain genres: Children’s books, Romance, Mystery, Thrillers, Suspense, etc. I think people would welcome them back with open arms.

What do you think? Do you miss your local hometown bookstore? I know I do.

Best,

Cathy Tully

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4 responses to “No More Bookstores?

  1. Reblogged this on hillarycraig and commented:
    I completely agree. It’s terrifying to think there might be a day where we can’t wander through a bookstore searching for our next favorite author or book.

  2. I’m fortunate to have a small Indie bookstore in my suburban town, and it exists only a few blocks away from B&N. I think for Indies to survive they will have to reinvent how they do business, and this one seems to be keeping up with the times.

  3. I wish I could share your optimism Cathy, but independent bookstores seem to be one of the victims of ever-evolving technology. In the 1990s, I visited six indie bookstores with regular frequency in two states. While tough economic times in the early 2000s knocked out two of those locations, I still had four favorites I gave business to well into the decade. But the combination of the B&N juggernaut and the emergence of e-books have chopped that number down to one. The owner of that store – also named Kathy – is someone I’ve known since my first visit around 1994, so we’ve become friends over that time. She’s told me recently that she’s had to become more creative to keep up her business…community activities involving her store, free coffee and snacks on weekends, displaying local artists’ paintings or other works of art. While these measures have helped give her business some exposure for both locals and tourists, it has still been a struggle for her to keep her store afloat.

  4. Okay, I’m a little late coming the response party, but better late than never. I agree, Cathy, I love bookstores. I love the smell of books, the weight of the book in my hands. I hope the day never dawns that we can’t walk into a bookstore. Maybe we can go back to the small bookstores. But it’s going to be up to the people. We need to walk back in to the stores instead of clicking to buy.

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