Sunday, May 15, 2011

The future of book retailing?

The demise of our neighborhood Borders made me wonder if there was any future for bricks and mortar bookstores, and if there were a future what does it look like? I lament its demise - I enjoy bookstores because it allows me to browse. Somehow, it is not quite the same as browsing on Amazon. Yet, my enjoyment has been significantly curtailed of late as I lack the time to browse and perhaps the decline of bookstores has less to do with the Internet than the lack of time in our hurried lives.

The future of bricks and mortar bookstores is not in the big cities where we are in a hurry to find what we want and get the heck out of there, when we lack the patience of standing in lines and finding a book serendipitously or to chat with those in line with us. The future of bookstores is when we find ourselves in places where we do have time to do all these things - browse, enjoy the company of strangers or of those who share our interest in the same book genre, sipping coffee while flipping through pages. It is summer again (or perhaps winter or fall) when we find ourselves in a vacation spot. The future of book retailing is in vacation towns and is seasonal just like our lives and is perhaps just a hobby. Or, then again, perhaps not. (It’s been awhile since we’ve been back to MDI and the Port in a Storm bookstore and now we won’t be able to do that again.)

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