you're reading...
Books, Culture, Life

I hope I don’t live to miss bookstores

Stack of books

I’ve been doing some reading online and it seems that everyone is counting Barnes and Noble out.  Their Nook readers did take a bit of a hit last holiday season underperforming in their sales goals.  Many analysts seem to be declaring that this is the end of Barnes and Noble as a brand.  That soon it will go the way of Borders.  Electronic books are the future and they just can’t compete in that market.

I certainly hope that isn’t true.  I love going to bookstores.  I don’t do it as often as I used to.  I used to walk to the Borders I lived by about once a week just to see what was in.   It was something the boys and I would do.   I realize I’m a bit weird.  I may be like the people who prefer vinyl to CDs (do people still buy CDs?) but I would much rather have a real book than an eBook.  Here are some reasons why:

  • I just like books.  I’d rather hold a book in my hand than an eReader or tablet (and I own some).
  • Many times the format of the book is part of the presentation.  The book “The Collected Works of T.S. Spivit” won’t work as well digitally because the layout is part of the book.
  • When you “buy” an eBook you don’t own it (or even a copy of it).  You are renting it, perhaps for the rest of your life, but you are renting it.  If you die, it doesn’t get handed down.  If Amazon decides you’ve broken some rule and the close your account, your books are gone.  It’s happened to people and it could happen to you.

I’ve come to a decision as to what to do about this.  First, whenever possible, I’m going to buy books in actual stores, maybe the used bookstore in town, maybe the specialty bookstore, or perhaps the Barnes and Noble 10 miles away.  If I’m buying online, I’m buying from Barnes and Noble.  The prices are generally a little higher than Amazon but it’s worth it if it helps keep bookstores in business.  I’m also going to be giving Amazon less and less of my business for other things.  I’ve already stopped buying books from them but I do occasionally buy other items from them, tools, toys, that type of thing.  I’m going to try to scale that back.  No need to feed the beast that wants to be the Wal-Mart of the internet.

It’s not even that I think Amazon is doing something wrong or objectively harmful.  I just want brick and mortar bookstores to continue to exist.  I realize it’s a losing battle.  Eventually books, I mean real, physical books, will be the thing of collectors, the type of things that only certain people have or even want.  That idea makes me sad.

On the bright side, we had to go somewhere on Friday and my 9 year old chose to take a book with him in the car instead of his iPod touch.  I’ll count that as a victory for people like me.



3 thoughts on “I hope I don’t live to miss bookstores

  1. Great thoughts here. you even got me thinking about it. sadly the populace as a whole feels different. we may see the big bookstores close and go the way of death but there will be new models of bookstores. again great post, very thought provoking

    Posted by butcheringsaint | June 3, 2013, 1:32 pm
  2. Thanks. It will be a sad day for me when I can’t just walk into a bookstore and wander around for hours (and I can do that in B&N). I read somewhere about a year ago that B&N might morph into a small bookstore with some periodicals, best sellers, new books with the cafe that is already there. I wouldn’t like that I don’t think. We already have that in Target and Wal-Mart. Plus I can’t imagine trying to compete with Starbucks (or any of the other coffee chains) would be a good business move. I know brick and mortar’s days are numbered, I just hope they are longer off than most business analysts seem to.

    Posted by Far Out Madman | June 3, 2013, 2:08 pm


  1. Pingback: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and my need for customer service | Ramblings of a Farout Madman - July 7, 2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 144 other followers

%d bloggers like this: