Friday, May 04, 2007

Death of the Book Store

The small, quaint book store used to be the staple of every town.
Every mall had a Waldenbooks or a B. Dalton or a Brentano. For my husband and I, that was always one of three places we hit at the mall. Now, finding a book store in a mall is almost like being struck by lightening - it's not likely to happen!
Since January first, I have watched many of my favorite stops for book signings close their doors. Some of them made no sense - the Waldenbooks in Norfolk's MacArthur Center was always SO busy! Some areas lost multiple stores - Roanoke, VA and Myrtle Beach, SC each lost two Waldenbooks.
Fewer independent stores remain open, too. They usually fall victim to a larger chain, such as Books-A-Million. The smaller chain stores simply get swallowed up by the big corporate store - we have many Barnes & Nobles in NC, but the last B. Dalton closed its doors in 2006. Borders Inc. is depleting its Waldenbooks numbers faster than Harry Potter books fly off the shelves.
And I while I do shop online for books, the bulk of what I buy continues to come from a physical store. Nothing can compare to walking into a store and seeing all of the books on the shelf, enticing one to browse and buy. There's just something about being able to touch the book and thumb through the pages that one can't get online. Plus, it's easier to find a hidden nugget that way. Who is going to search, page view by page view, through all million plus books on Amazon's site? No one - it would take way too long!
So I am all in favor of supporting your local store, no matter what it is, while you still have that choice!

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