Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Death of the Bookstore.

Ok, this one may not have a Spiritual bend to it, but hey, it's in my head and now on the screen, so here we go!  So, tonight is "girls' night" at our house, which I don't mind.  They feel that our place is so relaxing that they would rather come here than go anywhere else...that is the atmosphere Candice and I want in our home.  Warm and inviting to our friends, a sanctuary in the midst of chaos.  Wow, once again, I digress.  Back on track.  My wife kicked me out for a little while and I wander trying to figure out where to go...(I'm a stay at home father now for approximately one year, so I feel lost when I'm heading out not to buy groceries, nor with Stinky Pete in tow.)  Naturally, I head over to the bookstore.  I hit up Barnes and Noble.  I walk in and right in front of me is this impressive display for their e-reader:  The Nook.  If I'm honest with myself and you, I think it's pretty cool.  To be fair Amazon's Kindle is pretty cool too.  Yet, I just don't want to see the bookstore go away.  I read recently where Barnes and Noble is for sale.  Borders is struggling, has been struggling.  Shuttering Waldenbooks stores right and left and other small bookstores.  (No link too many references, just google it.)

So, to me, it looks like bookstores are slowly dying.  I love gadgets like the Nook, the Kindle, I even now have an Iphone...given to me by a friend.  I love stuff like this, but I don't want the bookstore to go away.  There's something to walking into a large store with millions and millions of printed word on paper.  Conversations related to watcha reading?  Oooh, what did you think of this book.  Instead of conversations related to, how many books do you have on that thing?  Does the screen hurt your eyes after a while?  How many gigs of data is stored on there?  I prefer the feel of a text in my hands instead of a screen.  Yet I can see the up-side to having a Nook or Kindle, once the majority of books are available.  I believe, I would have rather bought one of these bad-boys in the days of Div. School and had every single textbook I needed in one device.  That would have been friggin' awesome!  On the other hand I do like my rows and rows of texts in the spare room.  I don't know.  I guess in the end there are some books I would prefer to have on an e-reader and some I would want in paper form.

Paper.  I written that word a couple of times now and it's sticking in my mind, because after I visualize the thousands of books in one B&N, then think that there are at least 3 B&N's in Richmond, 1 Border's, and 1 Books a Million, that's a lot of paper.  That's a lot of trees.  Maybe the movement to e-readers is a responsible move for the environment.  Are we not supposed to care for our environment, the earth?
Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps over the earth.  Genesis 1.26. (NRSV)
I guess I at least have to confess.  Suddenly the guy who drives a Jeep and has yet to start recycling is talking about being a good steward of the environment.  Looks like I'm going to have to change some stuff.  Even though I fear and am saddened that the bookstore may go away to digital media, maybe its demise won't be that negative.  Meh, I don't know.

Shalom, Grace, and God Bless.


  1. I spent 5-6 years working for B&N and then a small publisher. The big chains modeled themselves for aggressive expansion and drove the rest out. Their demise will allow some small niche stores to return and there will always be a place for the antiquarians, especially as paper books become rare. But Amazon owns the market righteously, they gave us what we wanted. The chains, karmically speaking, are reaping what they hath sown.

  2. Wow this resonates with me. I love books! A world without books seems like a dreadful place to me. Books are reliable...never fail. All you need is a good light source and an open mind to fully enjoy the written word.

    I must confess, however, I use the Bible app on my Blackberry in church to look up Scriptures. (gasp)

  3. Timofy, I just read a short article about how some small coffee shop proprietors are shutting off their Wi-Fi, which I think is a good move. One owner said that he only had seating for 75, and people were coming in, setting up shop with their laptop and only buying one cup of coffee. Bad for business, but also bad for the "coffee-shop vibe." Isn't the character of a coffee shop, so you can sit back and pretend you're on an episode of Friends with your own friends?