“There Will Always Be Bookstores…”

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Thus writes one bookstore owner, at a post published today at Literary Hub.

Well, this is certainly something Fondly To Be Wished. However, the more worrisome worry is not that all bookstores might eventually disappear, but that too many towns and cities have not a single bookstore any longer – and/or a critical mass of avid readers that would allow such a store (especially an independently-owned one) to thrive.

Pre-21st Century, many U.S. towns had one or more bookstores, and most of them were independently owned. Nowadays, an avid reader of printed books counts himself/herself lucky if he/she is within driving distance of a bookstore chain “outlet.”

So the larger hope is not that whatever bookstores (independently-owned or otherwise) remaining in U.S. towns and cities will be able to continue operating, but that more such stores in more places will be able to thrive again.

For that to happen, it will be necessary for there to be a critical mass of avid readers who can afford to buy, and prefer to buy, printed (vs. screen-readable-only) books.

In the meantime, we are glad that avid readers living in bookstore-less environments can – assuming they can afford it – at least obtain, via online vendors, any book they’ve found they’ve found that they want to read. (Those avid readers who cannot afford to obtain books this way, or who don’t own computers to order them with, can usually borrow any printed book from their local public library’s free Interlibrary Loan Service). The irony, of course, being that the book someone is certain they want to read is unlikely to have been discovered by that reader via browsing in a local bookstore!

At any rate, it is difficult to imagine a U.S. town with Too Many Bookstores. We can hope, like the author of this article, that bookstore-operating will at some point become a viable profession once again – and in far more places in this country than it currently is.

Found through a posting on Facebook

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