“There Will Always Be Bookstores…”

November 10, 2016


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

Ten Visit-Worthy U.S. Bookstores

September 21, 2015


The article featuring these ten stores calls them “beautiful,” but that’s certainly debatable. Not debatable is the fact that these unusual-in-on-way-or-another bookstores are worth a visit if you happen to be in the area where they’re located. Some of these are The Usual Suspects, but a few of them are new to me.

Found via a Facebook post by The Goodwill Librarian via TheCultureTrip.com

A Bunch of “Cool” Bookstores

August 5, 2015

Cool Bookstores article image

CNN’s website posted some photos of some groovy bookstores around the world, most of which most booklovers have seen photos of before. Still.

Found via a Facebook posting by DC-based book blogger Thomas Otto

Books on Wheels

March 9, 2014


This is one of several nifty photos of various mobile libraries or book-selling carts that the excellent Book Patrol blog recently posted.


Is a Book Anything More Than a Story Container?

September 2, 2013

stock-photo-3573166-computer-mouse-and-bookThe Paris Review Daily recently posted an essay by Casey N. Cep that combines a description of his visit to Los Angeles’ The Last Bookstore with Cep’s reflections about why he treasures his books and the shelves his grandfather built to hold them.

The essay is interesting in its own right, but the readers’ comments are even more so.

Magical Bookstores

November 26, 2012

Well, of course just about any bookstore is a magical place, but these bookstores harbor particular uniquenesses.

Found via Baby Got Books

Julian Barnes Reflects on His Book-Loving Past

July 28, 2012

In support of Independent Booksellers Week, the British author Julian Barnes has written a lovely essay on the love of books and book-collecting, and The Guardian has published it.

Barnes begins his essay with these words:

“I have lived in books, for books, by and with books; in recent years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to live from books. And it was through books that I first realised there were other worlds beyond my own; first imagined what it might be like to be another person; first encountered that deeply intimate bond made when a writer’s voice gets inside a reader’s head.”

And he ends with:

“Reading and life are not separate but symbiotic. And for this serious task of imaginative discovery and self-discovery, there is and remains one perfect symbol: the printed book.”

Read Barnes’ entire essay, “My Life as a Bibliophile.” (And enjoy the 100+ readers’ comments, too, if you’d like. Not all of whom, by the way, agree with what they call Barnes’ “nostalgia” about the Printed Book.)

Found by librarian colleague (and habitual Guardian reader) Katharine Suttell