Thursday, July 10, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

One of my favorite bookstores burned down last weekend and while I only got to visit there while I was on vacation it made me stop and think:

What would you do if, all of a sudden, your favorite source of books was unavailable?

Whether it's a local book shop, your town library, or an internet shop...what would you do? If it was a local business would you try and help out the owners? Would you just calmly start buying from some other bookstore? Visit the library in the next town instead? Would it be devastating? Or just a blip in your reading habit?

Hmmm....this question certainly paints a vivid picture of an idyllic small town where residents can actually walk to the town center, where there are still locally owned businesses and where the impact of something so devastating as a fire in the local bookstore could actually affect the town economy maybe prompt residents to rally together in a socially conscious effort to help.

Back to reality -- I dont live in a place like that. We have neighborhoods, most certainly, but the concept of mom and pop stores is almost non-existent, except in a few cases. So, one would have to assume that, in my case, we are talking about B&N or Borders. Well, since they are like Starbucks and are positioned just a few miles from each other and other branches of the same store I would have to say that it wouldn't make much of an impact on me personally because I frequent all of them. Of course, this could bring us into conversation about the effects of big business on our lifestyle -- especially for those of us old enough to remember the independently owned business of our youth and who still prefer them. That, however, is a different blog.

If the library were to burn down -- now, that is a different subject. Yes, I could visit another branch but the impact that it would have on the neighborhood environment would be much more important. The children of the neighborhood, as well as the older folks, would be impacted greatly and I would be supportive of efforts to rebuild. Regarding the library, I don't frequent the library enough. I am a slow reader so I tend to purchase my books so that I am not rushed by deadlines. However, I do like to donate books to the library since our library has resale shops that help sustain the system.

If we DID have an independent bookstore that I visited regularly which, if we DID have one I would, I would certainly try to help in anyway I could to put it back! We have lost enough of these sorts of businesses as it is but they seem to have just disappeared, evaporated not destroyed by some natural disaster -- just a big sucking sound made by big corporate entities.

As far as the internet goes -- well, I have to admit that you can buy anything from Amazon and if it disappeared, I don't know what would replace it. However, with that said, I browse ebay from time to time and there is an elderly gentleman from down South Texas way who can pretty much supply me with anything I am looking for so, I would continue to correspond with him.

At the end of the day the fact is, I am a reader and I would find some venue to feed my habit. I mean, just looking at my reading habits from childhood show adjustment and adaptation. I went from the classroom library shelf to the public library. Then, I discovered the paperback racks at our local convenience store and grocery store. Now, in my mid years the bookstores are a comfortable place to spend the evening and the internet is always open. So, all these changes have taken place in the last 50 years -- we adjust and I am sure we will continue to do so. My suggestion would be, however, is to put a sprinkler system in all the bookstores across the country so we wouldn't have to suffer such devastation to one of our most precious resources.