Our little town south of Nashville lost Border’s a little over a year ago, and now we’re losing our discount book store, the one by Kroger, the one with really interesting books that weren’t bestsellers and that are dirt cheap.
We still have a Barnes & Noble, which is nice, but walk in, and the first thing you see is a big display of Nooks, the company’s e-reader-slash-Android tablet, which I think seems like an obvious bit of foreshadowing. It’s like going to see a romantic movie, and, soon after meeting the love of her life, the wispy heroine develops a nagging cough that she says is just a cold; you know how the story is going to end. (Hint: It’s not just a cold.)
I’m really sorry to see the bargain bookstore close. It wasn’t the greatest bookstore ever. It didn’t have a lot of character. It didn’t have overstuffed chairs, a coffee bar and free Wi-Fi, but it was a bookstore for people who love books.
It’s the kind of bookstore where you see people buying an armload of books. Thing 1 (the 12-year-old) always ended up with a couple of Mike Lupica novels, and Thing 2 (the 6-year-old) always found something in the children’s section, which had a giant castle-shaped entrance and a big bench where we’d sit and I’d read him stories about whatever he was into that day, usually something like Spider-Man or Power Rangers.
I honestly don’t believe traditional books are dead, but I also understand that the paper book is just a format and that content is what matters. What’s important is that people are reading and learning and thinking about things. It’s the same with music; I don’t buy many CDs these days, but I buy a lot of MP3s. I don’t care about having a lot of shiny plastic discs. I care about listening to great music.
Still, I’m a romantic when it comes to traditional books. I like having them around, and I like showing them off, but I don’t think the kids are going to feel the same way. Thing 1 just got a Google Nexus 7 for school. It came with a $25 online credit. First thing she did was download a book. I’m OK with that.