Monday, January 10, 2011
What Do Bookstores and 8-Track Tapes Have In Common?
Unless some of them change their business models, I think so.
Don't get me wrong: I love bookstores. I love visiting them, pulling books from shelves, meeting friends for coffee, discussing books. I'm a voracious reader, reading and buying (or borrowing from the library) at least 1-2 books a week.
But since I've gotten my e-reader (yeah, I got the nook), I'm reading, borrowing, and buying even more. The last hardcover I purchased was Elizabeth Bass's MISS YOU MOST OF ALL (Side note: Get it. NOW. It's wonderful.) But today unless a book comes out in a digital format, I'm not likely to buy it. And I'm not one of those purists who says, "I can only read a book. I have to feel it in my hands, smell the pages." Etc, etc. Sorry, but my e-reader gives me the same pleasure and tactile experience as a book. Call me a book heathen.
Which brings me back to bookstores. I still love to visit them (small ones, big ones, doesn't matter). Unless they have cats or dogs roaming around. I'm terribly allergic to both.
But it would be so cool to bring my e-reader into a bookstore, download from their stacks, sip a latte and nosh on a Snickerdoodle. Yes, I know you could do that now but I'm wondering if bookstores couldn't play that up a little more. Make it more enticing for us e-reader types to visit, maybe offer a free download. I know that Barnes and Nobles does that on Fridays but I'd like to see some of the smaller bookstores get in the act.
I do think there's room (and a need) for bookstores. I don't want them to go away. But unless they charge happily into the 21st Century, particularly the smaller ones, and not only embrace but creatively promote available technology, I'm afraid they'll become obsolete.
P.S. I finished THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak this weekend. Two words: Pure genius! I posted my review to Goodreads.