Requiem For The Bookstore
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Requiem For The Bookstore

Lament for the loss of physical bookshops

Requiem For The Bookstore
Wikimedia Commons

I’ve already seen one bookstore chain go under, and as of this week, we can now see that another one has unintentionally decided to condemn itself to the dustbin of history. Barnes and Noble just cut all of its permanent employees in their stores to leave, and that all store positions would be temporary.

The company was already having a hard time fighting with Amazon and the like, and now it will have not enough people to staff its stores, and so people will once more go to Amazon and the like. As a fellow member of a forum, I’m on said, the company is being stripped for parts, and is dead but not buried.

I also saw Borders go down. The outlet I went to in Falls Church as a child shuttered and I think it’s now an upholstery shop. I bought a lot of books there in my younger years, and I remember in the summer one time on the inside it was hotter than the Northern Virginia heat, which itself could be brutal.

In some way, I knew this was coming. As soon as I got my own Kindle in middle school I could feel that this was the future of reading. Literature will never die, but the bookstores are dying now, and it’s been a long, slow, almost agonizing death.

I consider myself fortunate to be a member of what may well be the last generation to have bookstores as a regular thing. I remember going to several different bookstores in Arlington and Washington D.C., only a few of which are still open.

They closed the big one on M Street and they closed the one in Ballston Mall. Now only a few small ones remain. Even now I like perusing small bookstores in smaller towns, like the one in Front Royal I’ve been to a few times with a book called "Cooking and Baking of the War of Northern Aggression."

I intend to use my kindle far more now, both because of the above and because I just generally want to read more. But even so, there is

something satisfying about holding a book in your hand, and something else satisfying about building your own library, with stacks of books all in neat rows.If I have children, I can’t imagine they’ll know books in the way I did, as something physical. I suppose books, too, are on the dustbin of history, but their presence there is far from laudatory.
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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