Everything’s quiet. No outside noise, no blabbing people. The only sound is the quiet whisper of pages turning, and the occasional low voice. Ahh, bookstores… a place for every self-proclaimed literary nerd to find sanctuary. Books will always be a source of comfort, and with most people still avidly reading books, there is no threat to the literary society going extinct. So what’s happening to the bookstores?
Over the past few years, popular chains such as Borders (now bankrupt) and Barnes and Noble have been suffering heavy losses. What’s causing this alarming downward trend? Simple: the Internet. The Internet, in all its wonderfully convenient glory, is a staple in the lives of almost every person on the planet. However, with the ability to have nearly all the information, shopping, and entertainment one could ever want at the click of the button, people have begun to overlook the physical world for the digital world, and nowhere is that more apparent than bookstores.
With plenty of shopping sites (Amazon being the most notable) available for people to purchase their books on, as well as eReaders and Kindles for people to read said books on, the need for an actual bookstore with actual print books is slowly decreasing, and while some may consider this a good thing, it also has a pretty severe downside.
The first reason, which is also very practical, is that a bookstore provides income for many people. Places like Barnes and Noble, or even the local neighborhood store, provide jobs for people in the community.
Secondly, bookstores allow book nerds (myself included) to meet other like minded literary junkies. Additionally, bookstores broaden the number of books that can quickly be obtained (let’s be honest – books aren’t cheap, and having to pay shipping, or even worse, wait several weeks for new books to arrive, is much worse than just traipsing down to the store).
Lastly, bookstores create a haven for people to simply enjoy being around literature. For myself and others, just being around books provides a calming influence, and being surrounded by as many as a bookstore provides is one of the best feelings in the world. The simple presence of all that literary magic is enough to warrant a trip to the bookstore. It’s a feeling unavailable on the Internet, and one that should be preserved forever. Booklovers, literary geeks, and anyone who loves a good read, unite. Bring back the bookstores!