Tuesday, March 10, 2020


     There aren't as many bookstores as there used to be.  There been some growth in small independents, and even a few used bookstores have shown up, but the big chains have dwindled; I think Books A Million is still around (but not widespread) and Barnes and Noble has been an trouble for many years.

     It's Amazon.  I feel a little disloyal writing it -- Amazon has long been both a major beneficiary of and an enabler of online culture -- but it's true.  As much as I love shopping at Amazon and the convenience of my Kindle, there's a lot be be said for going to an actual bookstore and looking, picking up and reading actual books before deciding to buy them or not. (But maybe not just right now.)

     Barnes and Noble is owned by a hedge fund these days.  The people running it have decided they'd better get some expert help.  I dislike throwing a link to that rat Bloomberg, but the new guy at the top of Barnes and Noble may be a good thing.

     We'll see.  In the meantime, visit your local bookstore -- new or used, chain or independent.  Get out there and buy a book!


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Nearest Books-A-Million I know of is at Traders Point. Unfortunately I’ve never been fond of either them or B&N.

I miss Borders. And WaldenBooks, and B.Dalton Bookseller.

Jeffrey Smith said...

There's a Books A Million about 30 minutes from me, at the big outlet mall that's aiming at tourists. It feels like a cheapie version of Barnes and Noble, without the cafe. Their western and romance selection is bigger, scifi and fantasy selection smaller, history selection much smaller than BandN. They have a thing for classic books in fancy bindings. I have three BandNs within 20 minutes of me (and expecting one of them to close for the last five years, at least), so I don't visit BAM very often.

There is one and only one used book store within reasonable distance of me, so I buy there every few weeks, sometimes just to encourage the owner to stick around. (She seems to do rather well, in fact.)

Bruce said...

Digital books have done a number on my attitude towards book stores and libraries. My very first credit card in the 1960s was a Krochs and Brentanos book store chain card. I'd spend thirty bucks a week on paperbacks. I always had a paperback in my hip pocket. Now, Krochs is long gone and I have five apps the list free ebooks every morning. The free ebooks have so devalued books in my mind, I've only bought three books in the past six years and still have over two thousand ebooks on my Kindle apps. Yes the quality can be hit or miss but they're free. And libraries have become afternoon babysitting services for third world hooligans. If I go to a library, as a senior, I can only go before noon on weekdays or I'd end up shooting some snotty kids. My local library tried ending interlibrary loan service a few years ago which drove me further away from them,to where I now vote against library funding.

rickn8or said...

"In the meantime, visit your local bookstore -- new or used, chain or independent. Get out there and buy a book!"

You're not the boss of me; I was going there and doing that anyway.

Antibubba said...

Almost everything I own was owned by at least one other reader before me. The exceptions were those I absolutely could not find anywhere except Amazon, or I want to put money directly into an author's pockets. "I Work On A Starship" is a good example of both.

rickn8or said...

"Unknown" above t'was I, an entity known as "rickn8or" not some lurker. I'm in the process of changing ISP's and have been doing the e-mail shuffle and configuration changes.

Roberta X said...

Fuzzy, I miss 'em all. We had a Waldenbooks (I think) right in Broad Ripple, a two-level bookstore at Glendale (was that B. Dalton?") and the nice Borders in Castleton. Then there was the used-book store in Broad Ripple that sort of faded away, and the independant that moved next to Broad Ripple Brew Pub for it's last five years or so. All gone now.

fillyjonk said...

The only nearby bookstore (other than the 2 1/2 short shelves of "trade books" at the campus bookstore, and the bestsellers/"inspirational" books at Wal-mart) is a Books a Million. Yeah, it does feel like a cheaper knockoff of Barnes and Noble but I guess I'm used to living in a place where "cheaper knockoffs" are considered good enough.

I shop there; I need to go in a bookstore periodically or something breaks in me.

I miss the big, nice "real" used-book stores (not just paperback exchanges) of the college cities I used to live in, where you could walk in and you had a chance of finding something you'd never seen before, or an OOP book you'd been seeking for months. There are a couple "used book" stores here, but they are mostly paperback exchanges for best-sellers from a year and a half ago, or the same categorical-fiction (mystery, romance, western) that you can pick up almost anywhere, and there's not much of an element of serendipity. I'm guessing the people here who have more-unusual books either hoard them like I do, or sell them through some kind of online interface.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

I don't remember the WaldenBooks in Broad Ripple, which doesn't mean you're wrong about it -- it's just not ringing a bell for me. Other than Comic Carnival (which sold used paperbacks along with comics and magazines and stuff), I'm not even sure I remember a used bookstore in the Ripple. I know there were a couple of bookshops in Old Broad Ripple...is the one next door to Brew Pub gone now? I haven't been over that way for a while with all that construction on Westfield. (Used to cut through there on my way home from lodge to avoid traffic on the Ave.)

You are correct about the two-level B.Dalton in Glendale. Used to be my go-to bookstore when I worked at Ed Schock's there. (We were right next to the downstairs entrance.) I remember before they opened the downstairs Galleria when B.Dalton was the first store inside the mall entrance next to L. S. Ayres, and Schock's was next door to it there, too. Arghh, too many changes, too many years :) Of course I remember Glendale before it was roofed and became an indoor mall, too.