Borders is broke and I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, that may be one less bookstore to go to. On the other, another reason for me to get a Kindle. It’s not that we need fewer bookstores, it’s just that Borders is a small, independent bookstore killer. And I, for one, love small bookstores. One of my favorites is just across town. It’s so picturesque:
It’s actually difficult to navigate the inside of the store. Even the stairwell is lined with stacks of books. And yet, chaotic as it seems, it’s organized. I found just what I was looking for my last visit. I managed to pick my dad up a first edition of one of my favorite books. It’s the kind of place where, if a purchase comes to $27.13, they’ll waive the change if you don’t have the pennies. You can have a conversation with the owner and get lost in the stacks.
Borders kind of kills that feeling. I try and only go to Borders when they’re a last resort. I’d much rather stop by Half-Price Books. Borders tend to be loud, bright, and smell of coffee. Which, while not wholly unpleasant, is not what I want from my bookstore experience.
Nonetheless, everyone has gotten much lazier when it comes to books and reading in general. It’s much easier to log onto the internet and pull up the New York Times home page than it is to stop by a newspaper stand (they still exist!) or get a subscription. I feel like fewer people are utilizing libraries, too. I already have a request list of books I want from my hometown library for when Spring Break rolls around (23 days left). iPads, Nooks, eReaders, and Kindles have all blossomed into popularity. How can you not want one with an ad like this:
Independent bookstores also tend to be more expensive. But, as one with the retirement dream of owning a small, independent bookstore (here’s looking at you Books & Pies!), I really hope people don’t fall out of love with books. Just think about how powerful the imagery of Gatsby’s library is… that’s more like it.
In the coming months I’m going to work on finding the perfect balance of book owning and technology using. Because, believe it or not, I’m not a Luddite. And, despite previously stated that I didn’t want a Kindle, I kind of do. I’ll still buy books – tangible, hard- and soft-cover, broken spined books – but I’ll buy some digital copies, too. My friend Rachel made the (valid) point that it’s just not realistic to study abroad and bring lots of books. And, in this instance, Kindle wins.