Always a constant in the back of my mind, often right in the middle of my train of thought, are bookstores. The ones I love, how I feel looking at all those books, the one I plan to open in the future. However, more and more I fear that my beloved places of refuge–my beloved dream of opening a store all my own–are being ransacked and stolen by the ever-growing trend of pseudo-books and online purchases.
Today I read Shannon Hale’s blog, as I often do. She wrote about Border’s closing many of its doors (that’s a bookstore, in case you’ve forgotten), and the importance of bookstores. Take a look: http://www.squeetus.com. Click on the post titled: Why brick-and-mortar still matter.
It is a nightmare. I have dreamed of my bookstore for years and years! And now, my dream is slipping away because of computers. Here is the comment I left on Hale’s blog about why bookstores matter, in addition to the reasons she already listed:
1- Hiding and browsing in a stack of books is infinitely more interesting than looking at a computer screen.
2- You are more likely to make delightful bookish discoveries.
3- Bookstores have Story time. I guess libraries do, too. But you can bet online stores don’t.
4- You can run your fingers across the tops of rows of books, embrace the spine, and hear the crack as you open it to take a closer look.
5- Bookstores emanate peace.
6- Bookstores are a playground for the imagination.
7- Bookstores are more personal than a computer.
8- Bookstores provide opportunities for book lovers to meet and share their favorites.
9- Carrying a stack of prospective buys is fun.
10- Bookstores are much farther away from the society in Fahrenheit 451 than are online stores.
If there is any subject that leaves me struggling to sound coherent because I am just so angry and frustrated, it is the discussion of the loss of books. No, an e-book is not a book. A book requires pages and glue and paper and string and a cover and ink. No, buying online is not the same. See my previous post for why human interactions are important.
This is just too gruesome! I hate that books are disappearing. I hate that I see more and more people reading pseudo-books. I hate that I am creating a back-up plan for if by the time I’m ready to open my bookstore, books no longer exist. I hate that every time I see a person reading a pseudo-book I feel a strong temptation to go break it. I hate that people think pseudo-books are more environmental. Let’s just get something straight: pseudo-books are not more environmental just because they don’t use as much paper. They are in essence computers, designed to have a short life so that the consumer will buy the latest model. Computers do not last hundreds of years if taken care of properly. Computers do not compost. They sit in land-fills being plastic and unmoving and gross and evil. And let’s not forget the carbon emissions that come from using energy every time you plug something in to recharge it. Got it?
This is just terrible. This also probably one of the most pessimistic posts I have ever written. It seems that usually, even if I am complaining about something, I have something positive to add to make it better. A suggestion on how to make the world better instead of continuing down the path of whatever it is about which I happen to be posting.
This time, all I can see is a nightmare coming true. I don’t care if you use kindle, nook, ipad, or whatever. They are all contributing to the decimation of the printed word, of my beloved books and my cherished bookstores. At this moment, I feel empty.