I miss bookstores with all my heart. I wish it was the little privately owned bookstores, second-hand bookstores, or even those bookstores in college towns with way too many textbooks, but I miss having a Borders or Barns and Nobles thirty minutes of less from everyone. Now I have to drive at least an hour and a half to buy a real life book. So my monthly book run is now more of a yearly book run.
For kids like me, who were grounded by taking away reading time or got straight A's because that meant your parents would buy you a couple of books, bookstores meant a lot to us. They were places that held worlds, knowledge and felt a little like a home away from home. It was a small event that we looked forward to, that meant we could find something that held meaning to us. Books are not just words on a page after all- they give a little part of their world to you and you give a little of your soul when reading them. It's hard to forget a good book, even years after you read it.
So when bookstores started closing all my friends and family were scared. They were right to be scared. It was an end of an era of love for reading, of the event of going into the outside world to be around like mind people that even though you didn't speak to each other or had anything else in common, you were all there because you were looking for a good book, and that meant something. Now I wonder if my kids will ever be allowed that experience. Where the young and old get along; even if the older generation is taking a long time in front of a display you want to get a book from or if there are young children running about. You understand why people block the display and why the kids are excited! They are in a bookstore! Where people take their time to browse and kids like you when you were young are excited to pick out new books to take home.
Bookstores are disappearing still, as online books become more popular. It's not bad for those who love to read, books are cheaper online and you don't have to drive to a store just instantly download the next book on your list and off you go. You can fit hundreds of books on a device smaller that a page or a full-size dictionary.
It's lovely, really and I understand why it's so popular! But at risk of sounding too uppity, holding a real book gives me a lot more pleasure than a screen. Not that I do not use a screen to read sometimes! I like the idea of holding a book that someone I love has held before when they read it or that I can pass down my favorite books to my loved ones. It's a physical way to show the connection that these words on pages, how these stories have connected us. Even if it's just being in the same building of others who feel the same way.