where did the bookstores go?

Friday, May 20, 2011

I've talked about this troubling issue a couple of weeks ago - that there are no longer any bookstores near where I live. The closest ones to me (and there's only two of them remaining) are about an hour drive away - definitely not a place I could just visit randomly.

Now I don't even buy books. I rarely do. But to be honest, what I seek and love about bookstores is the experience itself -- actually going in the shops, feeling somehow comforted by being surrounded by shelves and shelves of books. Sometimes, it's just nice being in a bookstore; I think everyone can agree with me - whether you're reading, just hanging out inside, killing time, window shopping, or actually doing some book buying.

I miss being able to do all those. It's bad enough now as it is, but what worries me is the possibility of not having any resources for books at all in the future. Libraries are also having trouble, and so this supports that worry even more. And to think that I live in a fairly big city with other surrounding areas with a huge population.

So now I wonder, is/are your area(s) having this problem too? What do you think about this "crisis?" How do you feel about the possibility of zero book resources in the future? Let me know what you think!


  1. This saddens me to no end. :( That, and I'm an aspiring author, so this also kind of worries me that no one will ever get the chance to read my stories. With all of this new technology out, bookstores, in all their majesty, are dwindling WAY too fast. I'm kind of terrified for our future generations...

  2. THIS. THIS makes bunnies cry. I have a Books-a-Million, which barely even qualifies as a bookstore in my opinion as it has no atmosphere and I've never met an employee there that knows the first thing about books. There was a little used bookstore that I sorta liked and it turned into a Christian books/art store which killed it for me. I live in south MS, which probably has a collective reading population of about 10 (sorry, but if you're all out there, WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?) and our libraries here are SHAMEFUL. You can get Danielle Steele and books with magnolias on the covers. Gag.

    The closest REAL bookstore to me is an hour and a half away. It's a fabulous store and worth the drive but still not something I can do often. Come to think of it, I'd have to go to New Orleans to find another REAL bookstore. B&Ns are nice, a big step up from BAM but still not a REAL bookstore.

    Sometimes I crave bookstore air. I just want to go into a bookstore and breathe the book-air. It's a different, more soul fullfilling sort of air and I need it. Living in an area that never really had any to begin with, I like to think that there are still places out there covered in bookstores and that I can get to them one day. The thought that they might no longer be there is just well, suffocating.

    You have my deepest sympathy.

  3. I don't buy a lot of books either, but I love hanging out in a bookstore.

    There are few bookstores around where I live, too - those corners in malls don't count. The nearest decent real bookstore is almost an hour away, so I can't just drop by anytime I wanted. Luckily, it seems to be doing well, so I hope it doesn't disappear.

    When I was studying I used to go past that bookstore everyday and I dropped in almost as frequently, just to be surrounded by books, look at the covers..., you know the feeling. I really miss this.

    Libraries are struggling here too and it is really sad.

    Now, i wish I could go to a bookstore, or a library right now:) Well, maybe some time next week.

  4. I'm guilty of the same thing.
    I don't buy many books but I LOVE hanging out in bookstores and scoping the clearance books.
    I find the smaller stores are a great alternative.

  5. I always enjoy just going into a bookstore and browsing, even if I dont buy anything. Theres still a Borders 10 minutes from me thankfully.

  6. Savannah Smith - It truly is scary to be living in a world where having zero book resources is possible! I can only imagine how it is for writers.

    Life After Jane - We don't have Books-A-Million; is that an East Coast exclusive store? And I think you've said it exactly; we all need bookstore air, whether or not we're buying.

    Pepca - Oh bookstores are my saviors every single time when I'm having a bad day or something; it just keeps me calmer and puts things into perspective for me. I miss them.

    Juju - Well I guess stores like Walmart, Target, etc sell books, but they're not exactly bookshops! Haha.

    naida - You're one of the lucky ones! :)

  7. Oh, I hate for bookstores to close-- none of the malls here have Walden's anymore. Jane may poopoo Books-A-Million but I like it just fine-- reminds me of Borders but I hope they don't close like Borders. We also have Hastings which has movies/music too-- but I never stray from the bookside of the store.

    I haven't heard of my local libraries struggling but I will ask the librarians.

  8. Lesa - I think any bookstore closing is sad whether or not we actually like the place! Is Walden's a company under Borders or is it just an EastCoast place?

  9. I'm in the center of the country and Waldenbook's were always in the malls for decades. When I googled why they were going out of biz, it appeared they had been bought out by Borders-- and we know about Borders probs.