Decline of Local Bookstores

Posted by Thoughts and Ramblings on Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Today I went to a local Barnes & Noble to purchase some books. The books aren’t the current best sellers, but they are quite well known, so the store should have had them. Since they were science and religious in nature, I looked in both sections. After 30 minutes, I found numerous books on the same topics, but none of the ones I wanted. This was frustrating to the point that I wished for a card catalog like a library just so I could figure out where the store would put them. Eventually I gave up, walked out and decided to just look online.

Time spent finding them on Amazon: 10 seconds. So here’s the question: Why go to to local bookstore to purchase a book unless it is a current best seller, or you need it immediately when instead you can purchase it online, for a lower price (without sales tax) and spend less of your time trying to find it?

Legacy Comments:

Noah Coad - Aug 6, 2008

so very true, that goes for many products these days, and now you can text msg amazon the bar code of any product to get amazon’s price -Noah on cell phone

bw - Dec 10, 2008

…I seldom go to bookstores or go online–just use the library. My city library (small city) in outskirts of Boston is linked to a network of about 55 other village, town, city and even college libraries, and the requests for outliers come in w/in 2 days. Not bad. And the Boston main (and branch) libraries–though not connected to this “minuteman network,” is just an MTA-ride away–the BPL, boston public library–does pretty well on new acquisitions. That all said, however, on the veeeery rare occasion when I just MUST shell out the bucks for a new edition and go to a book store, I visit them online first to see if it’s in stock. Or if it’s a “whim” search, I enter the store and make a b-line for the in-store terminal or the help desk. At the ripe old age of 66, I’m done wasting time figuring out a bookstore layout, so I just ask, and keep asking staff on the way just so I don’t make any wrong detours (when some of the sections in a Barnes & Noble are just a bookshelf wide, I’m not about to go exploring). Been there, done that altogether too many times. Maybe before I die there’ll be a cheap enough, good enough book reader that’ll let me annotate, extract pull-quotes, etc., that I’ll buy it. I’m afraid Kindle, or kindling (at Fahrenheit 451° is it?) isn’t it. Nor is Acrobat Digital Rights Management Reader worth a flying farthing (IMHO, of course). (In the meantime, google Antony C. (for Cyril) Sutton, if you want a very interesting perspective on why you might be confused about “neoliberal” economists on the “global stage” when they’re supposedly “conservative” economists in the US. The labels, it turns out, don’t make any difference (ditto Dems & Republicans, “liberals”/“progressives/libertarians/conservatives. All are heading in the same direction–government vs the people. And the natural state of a free-market “capitalist” system (or communist) is monopoly. (on money & power, goods & services. To paraphrase Tiny Tim, “God help us, every one.”