Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Death of Bookstores: Barnes & Noble, Last One Standing

When Borders closed down their stores, laid off thousands of employees, and sold their inventories for half their retail prices a few years ago, I was heart broken. I love bookstores. Nothing brings me more joy then entering a neighborhood, or even mega-chain business filled with nothing but books..

To me, books represent an opportunity to learn, to laugh, to cry, to fantasize.... To hold the pages of a great author (such as J.R.R Tolkien, who's The Hobbit, I am currently reading) in your hands for a long night of adventure as you curl up under blankets is one of those special moments in life, where you can be a little kid and go back to those years of imagination.

But now my heart is once again straining for the fate of bookstores, as Barnes & Noble is closing down hundreds of stores, laying off workers and reducing their brick, and mortar presence, while focusing more on their digital holdings. They are the last nationwide bookstore, and if they close.. The market will be wholly owned by Amazon and e-book devices such as Nook or Kindle.

The thought of losing Barnes & Noble, so closely after the death of poor Borders, is troubling to me, as the horrific little idea of Wal-Mart being the last nationwide provider of books in-store is scary as hell to me. As the superstore just has a way of cheapening their products, and books are unlikely to be spared the same fate.

With this weighing so heavily on my heart, I call on all book lovers to start dropping in at your neighborhood bookstore, start visiting your Barnes & Noble... Attend author readings, join, or create your own book club and devote some of your hard earned money to one book per week.

These businesses, which employ thousands of workers and represent who knows how many small business owners, depend on our loyalty... and if we're putting Amazon, or even worse, digital "books" over the survival and greatness of bookstores, don't be surprised when their gone forever.

And that would be a travesty.

What say you?

P.S. - A good place to start on bookclubs, would be with great series such as J.R.R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels, and Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy.

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