Independent bookstores are closing down. Do we blame the lack of literary enthusiasm in America or the e-book?
I won’t do it. I won’t buy an e-reader or a tablet. I won’t. Call me old-fashioned, but there is something about holding a book in my hands. There’s something about turning each page — a certain sense of accomplishment. I sniff books, I pet them and I decorate my house with them. Does this make me a dying breed?
It is true that e-reader sales are down, but not because people aren’t reading e-books. Sales are down because the price of tablets has gone down, and tablets are multifunctional. You can do a lot more than just read on a tablet, so people are forgoing e-readers to multitask.
I do understand the e-book phenomenon from a practical perspective. E-readers and tablets allow book nerds to carry an entire bookcase in the palm of their hands. When book nerds vacation, they no longer have to leave that extra pair of shoes at home for the newest Patterson; now, they can fit both and more!
I still won’t do it. I will not convert.
Every day, I read about independent bookstores closing across the nation. These are bookstores that have been around for decades, and now, they’re closing down. I’m a bookstore geek. I enjoy wandering the aisles, seeking out my next great read like a detective scoping for clues. I spend hours in bookstores, but I’m afraid someday they’ll be gone. Then, where will someone like me go to hide?
Jerry Seinfeld once said, “A bookstore is one of the many pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.” A bookstore is a place to go and meet like-minded folks. It’s a place to talk about books, authors and… nerdy things. In a bookshop, you share a commonality with everyone there: you’re all looking for something.
E-readers are so cold, so solitary. With an e-reader, you sit in your empty house all by yourself and read your lonely book. There is no sense of community. It’s just you and technology — and we all know technology is evil. Just ask John Connor.
Plus, I have the endless fear that if I got an e-reader, it might crash, and boom! Books gone. The only way that’ll happen with an actual book is if my house literally burns to the ground.
Will you condone the death of bookstores? Or will you seek out that dog-eared copy of Catcher in the Rye? Will you make conversation with that cute guy in the suspense section? Will you be old-fashioned like me?