Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Where are the bookstores?
Where are bookstores going? Does anyone know? I realized over the winter that several of my favorite booksellers in Hilton Head, where we spend the cold months, have closed. In fact, Barnes and Noble seems to be the only one left thriving. Don't get me wrong--I love Barnes and Noble! I can go in, browse to my heart's content through the mystery and religion sections, check out the latest juvenile books for my grandkids, and have a Chai Latte and an orange scone and eavesdrop on the latest comments from the quartet of older gentlemen who seem to spend all their time there, setting the world to rights.
But I love bookstores, and I hate to see any of them perish. The independent bookstores, in particular, have an atmosphere I cherish. Each one seems to reflect the personality of the store owner, and often the books have been hand-chosen to appeal to his or her clientele. Like B's Books in Punxsutawney, for instance. Punxsutawney is known for its famous groundhog, but the delightful small bookshop across from the park is a treasure, as well.
Or my own favorite hometown bookstore, Cloak and Dragon Bookshop in Bloomsburg. Right on Main Street, it allows you to take up a table in the front window, sip a cup of coffee or tea, read, and watch the world go by on the sidewalk outside. Cloak and Dragon is also "my" bookstore in another sense. Every author needs a hometown bookshop which will keep his or her books in stock, promote him or her at every opportunity, and handsell books. Here I am, with my eyes closed as so often happens when someone points a camera in my direction, with Sharon, the proprietor of Cloak and Dragon, at my most recent signing. This was such a lovely event, and I am always grateful for her support.
Of course I love online booksellers, too. Where would I be without Amazon? In need of a reference book for the work-in-progress? It's only a click away. Want to see the backlist of an author I've just discovered? That's there as well. And since I live in the country, there's a lot to be said for finding the books I ordered on my doorstep in a couple of days!
And then there's the e-reader. We now have a Kindle, and I've fallen in love with it, as well. When I'm sitting in my favorite chair in the evening, can't find anything worth watching on television, don't sense an appeal from the books in my "to be read" pile, a new read is just seconds away with the Kindle. Obviously I'm a devoted reader, and I'm sure you are, too. As far as I'm concerned, the more places I have to buy and borrow books, in whatever format, the better. And I don't want to lose a single one of them! How about you?