Here’s a pretentious little prat if I’ve ever seen one, and I’ve seen a few. Excerpts and my comments follow:
I had an unfortunately rare pleasure over the Memorial Day holiday: I visited a real bookstore.
Who the hell made you the arbiter of what a real bookstore is? Here’s a hint: A bookstore is a brick-and-mortar establishment that sells books. You don’t get to make up your own definition.
We do have a Barnes & Noble, though. It’s better than nothing, but spending time in the Lake Forest Book Store reminded me of the distance between most Barnes & Noble stores and a genuine bookstore.
It’s a strange paradox. In theory, Barnes & Noble with its significantly larger inventory should be more likely to have something I want, but the sheer volume of product makes it harder to find. Granted, I am one of those readers who normally goes to the store not on a specific mission, hoping for an unexpected or unanticipated match, but I suspect many core bookstore patrons are similar. We go to commune with the books.
Commune with the books? What the hell? What does that even mean?
I’m a big reader and one of my own distinct pleasures on my various travels is finding little local bookstores. I wandered into one a couple of years ago in Gloucester, Massachusetts, spent an hour mooching around in the stacks, shot the breeze with the owner for a while and left with a locally-published book on historical New England glassware as a gift for my Mom. But I’m also economically literate, and understand how business models change. The rise of big bookstores like B&N hurt small local bookstores, yes, just like the rise of Walmart hurt little local hardware stores. But it’s not little local “real” bookstores that are hurting B&N now – it’s online retailers like Amazon.
Business models change. Publishing and book-selling are two business models that are undergoing a catharsis right now, and that’s not going backwards. That makes it more annoying, not less, to see pretentious windbags wheezing on about “real” bookstores.