Closings of Bookstore Chains
The recent mass store closings of beloved bookstore chains across the nation, like Borders, have sparked quite the array of reactions among avid readers and connoisseurs of the overall bookstore experience. Many not only enjoyed the stroll through aisles and aisles of literary works, but also made it a low key form of entertainment, curled up in a chair or perched on a seat sipping coffee and taking in their latest find.
Even the largest of retailers though, are not capable of maintaining the infinite inventory of literature out there without traveling the avenue of online stores and digital formats for e-readers. Coupled with a work-in-progress economic recovery, the demise of conglomerate literary vendors is unfortunately an impending process; or reality in the case of Borders – at least in a tangible, in-store experience version.
While I too felt the pull of some nostalgic strings when driving by my local Borders emblazoned with store closing signs, a place that supported endless hours of paper writing, college applications and the like, I also realized something: for books and bookstores – be it virtual or tangible inventory – to survive, they must keep up with the times and give readers a reason to keep coming back. In an era where we are more and more accustomed to having literally the world at our fingertips through online shopping, books surely have to traverse the same course.
Reading books is a historic tradition stemming from orated story-telling across generations. They invoke feelings of nostalgia at times, and can take the reader across the world and through epic journeys.
Centuries ago, authors decided to transcribe tales of adventure and enterprise into written form with the technological advancements of writing tools and paper, followed by print media and mass distribution. We now find ourselves on the same cusp of an evolved form of age-old media, creating accessibility via a virtual arena to these same books and a whole plethora more.
With every other form of entertainment or creative work, there is the argument that it can be framed around a business venture turned multi-million dollar industry – i.e. record labels in the music industry for example. Books and the impetus for making a particular purchase of one, however, retain a different set of values. Students in particular, read textbooks for the knowledge they aspire to use to achieve a high grade in a class. Access to higher education and the subsequent knowledge attained has become incentivized more and more unfortunately by those providing it, and becoming a basis for astronomical profit – maybe one of the main reasons why our education system is falling behind.
The textbook is and will always be an essential tool to the process of education. Including legal textbooks and etextbooks.
Sure you may have to find a new spot to chill and sit back with a good book or study aid, but think about it this way – you can bring an entire bookstore with you to sit under the shade of a tree with a nice breeze and coffee to-go by your side, and invite some friends while you’re at it. Sounds like a new and improved low-key day to me.
What are the biggest benefits you seek to achieve when perusing though a textbook or even your favorite fiction novel?