Book Stores? No, Gift Emporia!

Are books obsolete?  This is debated on all sides but most often in discussions about e-publishing.  Certainly the look of Chapters has changed considerably since it opened its doors a few years ago.  Then it carried, well, books.  And more books.  Lots of lovely, different authors and amazing sale shelves featuring people whose names you knew, such as Margaret Atwood or Sidney Sheldon.  If you watched you could come home with a real treasure.

Even the titles were varied and there were loads of hard covers on the fiction shelves.  (I’ve never been a paperback lover.)  Now when I go into Chapters, which is often, I have to navigate the tables and displays of sheep’s wool blankets, baby sipper cups, barbecue utensils and a host of other eye catchers totally unrelated to books.  And instead of thousands of different authors we see every last one of the books of only some authors.  Those whose names are neon and whose fame is total.

And, really, we can’t blame the bookstores.  We’re jumping on the e-reader bandwagon like fleas on a dirty dog.  I love my iPad2 and while considering just how my novel will make it to market, I know I will give it an e-presence!  So, I’m to blame.  You’re to blame.  We’re all responsible for Borders’ closing.

The only thing that might be worse is if bookstores were closing and we had no alternative.  With book burnings during the dark ages, we lost the works for ever and ever.  Today, e-reader-type devices threaten to take the place of books, but not to destroy their wisdom completely.

What do you think of this massive trend?  Do you prefer your books made out of paper or on your tablet?  What are the advantages and disadvantages you see between e-books and paper books?  Consider leaving a comment.

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13 thoughts on “Book Stores? No, Gift Emporia!

  1. Fleas on a dirty dog! Love it!
    I don’t have an i-pad, a kindle or a nook. I am forced to read many authors on my computer, which I dislike. I love paper books. And I love how they go through people. They start with someone willing to pay the 9.99 then move to a friend, over to a used bookstore and a 4.50 purchase price. Back and forth till they land on someone’s keeper shelf, or are given away for next to nothing at the thrift store. We lose a lot when we move to digital. Especially those without electronics. They are stuck with only the neon authors. As our world expands, some worlds shrink.

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    • Oh, I hear you, Jessica! You’re talking to the former owner of a library of 1500 books, nary a one which I didn’t cry over when we downsized. But I do like the convenience of taking a bunch on books on holiday with me on my iPad. The world, she is a-changin1, girl. Thanks for visiting.
      Getting ready for our weekend author retreat. So excited….

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  2. What is going on in publishing today isn’t so different than the industrial age. We learn how to do things differently, and then there is a shift. It’s not a bad thing, it is a different thing. Keeping pace is part of embracing the change.
    There are still, a hundred years later, craftsmen who make furniture by hand, people who weave, knit, crochet, people who make their own preserves. Books will not go away. They may become more rare, but I don’t think traditional books will go away.

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    • Guess what, Sherry? I was checking my spam and found your comment there. Not sure why. Anyhow, thank you for visiting and giving your excellent perspective. I agree with you. There is something so satisfying about those favorite books on my shelves.

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  3. I like B O O K S ! and I love the library! I have a book in my travel case; another by my bed; another for commercial time IF I turn on a TV. Usually that is just for classic videos. Oh and i read everything electronic from my big sister. Sometimes when I was growing up, I wouldn’t even let her move a cereal box on the kitchen table until I had read ever last word on all side of the box. Hey, i was hooked early.

    I spend enough time on the computer with correspondence, composing and arranging. it is so good to shut it down and pick up a book. Of course it is hard cover, even if they do wake me when they fall on me as I head into slumberland.

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  4. I am an “in between generation”. I grew up reading paper books. For convenience and cost, I like the e-books. At the end of the day, I still lean toward the paper. Something I can hold onto; something I can touch; feel; smell the paper and ink. The experience is much more encompassing. I also enjoy the sense of pride and comfort when I look at an expanding book collection in my office. Seeing one little device does not quite give me the same sense of accomplishment.

    Good questions, teacher!

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  5. Oh, Harold, I ‘get’ all the points you make. I used to love my actual library room in our old house. To be surrounded by the books of my life was such a comfort. And having read them all and more, I totally understand your sense of accomplishment.
    Every book I read, I still do a short note about it and have filled two books with these. They function as memory aids so that I can look up and see if I read a certain book and see what it was about and how much I liked it. Kind of like stacking up a life!

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    • The notes about the books is a great idea. I usually read for pleasure; perhaps distraction in the moment. I do not study the contents of my reading like I had done for my degrees. Still, there have been times I have picked up a book and started to read it, only to find out halfway through that I have read it before.

      When I lived in Texas, I was often donating used books to the Fort Bend County Library Guild so that they could sell them on the used book shelves within the library. One time I picked up a book that looked very interesting. I bought it for the dollar and it wasn’t until I was heading down the front steps of the library that I noticed my name was already inside the front cover – in my handwriting. After that, i always checked! Ha!

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