Bookstores are not just unnecessary warehouses for written information which could just as well be read online. Bookstores serve a function which many people overlook: they fight isolation and keep people from being lost in a dark see of information. By this I mean, bookstores are places to physically go in order to obtain information in a realistic world setting and interact with other people. In addition, information is more readily accessible and searchable at bookstores than online stores. Here are the reasons to support your local bookstore:
1. Community dialogue
Having a bookstore allows for communication and book groups in a way that online readers do not. Perhaps when you are in the store you will see a flyer advertising a book club night, or you will meet someone by chance who is looking for the very same book you are interested in reading. Bookstores are hubs for community dialogue and sometimes groups form to help review new releases or decide which types of books to put in which sections.
2. Mental health relief
Having a bookstore as a place to go where reading is encouraged and expected can help save people from the stress of work. Sometimes, the distraction of having thousands of books at your fingertips is all you need to calm down and unwind from current struggles.
3. Ease of browsing
If you are on your ereader and want to read an amazing book which speaks to your unique personality, you may wish to browse randomly. But the browse features on readers are set up to angle customers towards the most heavily advertised or popular books. Or you have to pick a category like romance or science fiction before you can even begin browsing.
4. Let's not regress to scrolls
Browsing a book itself is not possible online the way it is if you go into a store and thumb through pages. Thousands of years ago the only way to read a long manuscript was to unroll a scroll and find the part you are interested in, somewhere in the middle. ereaders go back to this very concept and force you to scroll from one page to the next for as long as it takes to find the part you want. But physical books are set up as pages which can be flipped twelve at a time if necessary. It takes much less time to find a point in a physical book.
5. Place to study/go
There are very few places to go just to get out of the house. There are only a few times per year when the weather is just right to go hang out in a park so that leaves shopping or coffee shops for places to hang out outside of the house. Maybe you are like me and do not wish to spend money on coffee after 4:00 pm. Bookstores are the ultimate hang out place to find many different stories and diversions to keep you busy outside of the house.
6. Personal interaction for introverts
Believe it or not, people skills are something which need to be practiced. Introverts often find themselves staying at home watching TV or reading a book and do not end up practicing social skills. This is why it is important to go out to a place where human interaction is helpful and natural. The options are: use an ereader and barely enhance your quality of life, or go to a bookstore and meet people who share the same interests and find the perfect book in a tactile, real-world experience. You choose.
7. Instill a love of reading in children
Children who read while they grow up do better in school and learn faster the more they read. In addition, children who read end up loving it and then go on to read more and learn on their own about random topics of their choice. It is also true that when parents read out loud to children it has a similar effect. If there are no bookstores to take one's children to, their are less ways to get children interested in reading. Ereaders often have other capabilities like gaming and movies. Electronics are not safe routes to teaching children a love of reading. This is another reason why bookstores are essential; as a place to go as a family and explore.
8. Workbooks more effective when handwriting
It is almost impossible to study from online books when trying to learn topics such as math. There needs to be a chance to write the problems down by hand and not have the answers within a flick of a finger across a screen. Working through new disciplines like language writing requires a hard copy for easy access.
9. Meet authors/fight unreality
Bookstores break the unreality wall which online writing creates. By this I mean that when people write there is a degree of anonymity on both sides; the author does not know who will read it and the reader does not know anything about the author. Maybe that is the point. But sometimes, having an author come into a store and do a reading brings the reality of the writing home to the reader. Especially if the book is a memoir or based on a true story, meeting the author can create meaning in the words and in the readers' interpretations of the book. Without bookstores, would we ever know the humanity of our authors?
10. Do not rely on internet and batteries for reading
ereaders, laptops and cell phones all require internet at some point. They all have batteries and need to be recharged over time. Imagine if we did not have any hard copy books and we went on a camping trip. The first few days on the beach and canoeing a river are blissful with ereading time. The rest are so boring as all the electronics have died and nobody has a book. Or you are in a cabin in the mountains and you even have electricity but no internet or cell phone service reaches that high, what do you do? Bookstores are essential to continuing a full, happy life.