Tuesday, January 30, 2007

On the Demise of Used Bookstores

When I was a child, there weren't many bookstores where I lived. People then -- 1960s, 1970s -- bewailed the demise of literacy, and thence the demise of bookstores.

But now in 2007, there are lots of wonderful bookstores: think Borders, Barnes and Nobles, among many others. Not to mention such on-line sellers as Amazon.

Paradoxically, used bookstores are dying. Some are selling, and will, I suspect be different after they are sold. I'm specifically think of The Bookstore in Chapel Hill, NC, where I have spent many a pleasant hour, and many a dollar. The store is being sold, owing to the retirement of the owners. I wish them well. They have done a fine job. But I am not a very good customer any more. I don't go very often, and I suspect I'm like many folks: I do virtually (sic) all of my shopping on-line. It's become easy to find the old books I'm looking for in Amazon or other such, and I just don't care to spend much time browsing the shelves. Not to mention that Google and others are scanning in huge numbers of out-of-print, out-of-copyright books.

Will there be brick-and-mortar used bookstores a hundred years from now? 10 years from now? I hope so. But I wonder about their future. But I am thankful that it's easy to get the theology books I want, far easier, and far less expensively than even 20 years ago.

1 comment:

Balaamsass51 said...

Ambience. That's what you don't have sitting at the computer terminal. There is nothing like the ambience in an old musty bookstore with musty old books.

Matt