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The Disappearing of Bookstores: The Scariest Story of All

Updated on January 15, 2015
While the internet is useful in several ways, it is also slowly replacing both bookstores and tangible books.
While the internet is useful in several ways, it is also slowly replacing both bookstores and tangible books. | Source

Since I’ve always enjoyed reading, I often went into bookstores when I was younger. I usually went to Borders and actually wondered what it would be like to work at a bookstore, since I felt I would enjoy being around books so much. However, every Borders around soon went out of business and now although there are still bookstores around where I live, none of them are exceptionally close and none are the same as the ones I used to go to. I admit that the fact that more and more bookstores are closing is quite depressing and I find it sad that both small and large stores are disappearing one by one.

Additionally, while e-books are perfect for when a student needs to read a book quickly for class without the hassle of purchasing them at a school bookstore or online and waiting for the hard copy to arrive, or for first time writers looking to be published online, e-books do not have the same authenticity as tangible books do. Some may argue that taking around an iPad or iPhone is easier than “lugging” around a book, but how hard is it to carry a book around? Also, it may just be me, but I love the feeling of having the real book and to me, nothing compares to turning real pages of a book instead of simply swiping your finger across a screen.


Part I: The Disappearing of Bookstores

Maybe it sounds paranoid and maybe it seems like it would never happen, but what if bookstores would cease to exist altogether? What if all that was left was the ability to buy books online (either tangible ones or e-books) and there were no more places to go sit and read; no place to walk through the different isles and search for actual books? Some people still really enjoy going to the bookstores that are left and taking that away would be horrible.

Also, what would happen next? Would there eventually not only be no bookstores left to go to but also be no one online selling hard copies of books? Would we only be able to download books digitally? I’ve always wanted to be an author and while having my book published in any format would mean the world to me, I’ve always hoped to see it on a shelf in the store one day, what if that were to never happen? It’s not just about the purchasing of the books in the store either, some people also like the feeling of bookstores.


Part II: The Disappearing of Physical Books

Not only do I think it’s wonderful to own a hard copy of a book, but I also actually don’t really enjoy reading books on an iPad or iPhone screen. For one thing, they’re small and while this may sound strange, they feel impersonal. It doesn’t feel to me like I’m reading a story when I’m reading it as an e-book; somehow it feels monotonous, without spirit. Maybe I sound like a nerd or even old-fashioned, but I feel like there’s a lot to be said about holding a book in your hand, placing a real bookmark in the page where you left off, and returning to it only to be once more sucked into the magic of its world. Also, I feel like part of the definition of a “book” is the binding and the pages that hold together the wonderful stringing together of words.

In addition, there are a lot of problems with e-books. E-books rely on the internet and the device that they are located on. What happens when a tablet or computer dies in the middle of reading? You have to charge the device so you can continue reading or you have to pick up where you left later. With a tangible book, you never have to worry about a battery running low or the lights dimming unless its nighttime and even then, you can put a light on. Also, what happens when the device eventually completely dies or if it breaks? Sure pages of a book over time can tear or get bent, but they last a lot longer than an electronic book does.


Why Are So Many Bookstores Closing?

While as I explained, one reason that so many bookstores closed their doors was because of the fact that e-books slowly began to replace the selling of physical books, I was surprised to learn yet another reason that stores like Borders close. According to the article, “Borders Closing: Why the Bookstore Chain Failed”, too many people just went to the store to browse. The article which can be found on the page, http://www.ibtimes.com/borders-closing-why-bookstore-chain-failed-300009, explained how the store could not stay open with so many people choosing to simply visit the store and not make any purchases. However, I think that a prime reason many people did not dish out the money to buy many books was because, let’s face it, Borders wasn’t exactly the cheapest place to shop and while I understand a company needs to make money, they are going to suffer if they don’t lower their prices to a reasonable degree.

So now that Borders is gone, I think it’s important that we find a way to shop at the bookstores that are left and that perhaps, those who manage the bookstores try to find a way to sell their books at a reasonable price that is affordable to customers but will still keep the business afloat.


Conclusion

I’m not going to say that I’ve never purchased an e-book because I have. In fact, I downloaded a lot of them when I was in school. However, I really do enjoy reading old-fashioned books a lot more and for many reasons. Also, I’d hate to see a world where there are no more bookstores left and where we only read on tablets, phones, and computers. There are so many things that could go wrong with technology and to me, to fully depend on technology for something as important as reading, would be a mistake. I think it’s important that more people purchase tangible books rather than e-books and that more bookstores get opened. I think that as long as the books are not too expensive that bookstores would survive.

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    • Breanne Ginsburg profile image
      Author

      Breanne Ginsburg 3 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, Cyndi10 and for following me. I hope too, that bookstores won't completely go out of business.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 3 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Breanne, I, too, lament the closing of bookstores. In fact, I used to think I would one day own a bookstore, I love books so much. I am not a fan of reading on the iPad or my phone. My sons, on the other hand, love to. I can see the convenience of using devices, but the enjoyment is not the same for me.

      I do see people treating the bookstore like a library, browsing a lot, but making few purchases. I think that's how we view bookstores. They accommodate us, too, by putting in coffeeshops.

      I enjoyed reading your thoughts about the closing of bookstores. I have my fingers crossed that Barnes and Nobles will be able to stick around.

    • Breanne Ginsburg profile image
      Author

      Breanne Ginsburg 3 years ago

      Thanks for the comments, guys! Lady Guinevere, the thought of libraries carrying less books is a scary thought...even scarier than the loss of bookstores!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 3 years ago from West By God

      We have a few bookstores in our area. The biggest one is BooksaMillion. We also have a used books store. I prefer to buy my books in a store where I can flip though the pages to see what I am getting and if it is the right one for a gift. I also oder on-line too. Now the library is getting sparse on books and that is another part of the problem that you are talking about too.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 3 years ago from California

      I've also lamented the loss of bookstores, even though I don't go to them anymore. Yes, I do my book purchases almost exclusively on Amazon, though there are many more online bookstores as well, as you probably know. Nevertheless, I still prefer hard copies and will probably continue to read them for the rest of my life. Later!

    • Breanne Ginsburg profile image
      Author

      Breanne Ginsburg 3 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, Laura. I'm glad you found a bookstore you like!

    • Laura335 profile image

      Laura Smith 3 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

      I was so sad when Borders closed, but like you said, I mainly just went there to browse or buy from their discounted section. I feel bad for not supporting my own industry, but they were just so expensive. I now shop at Half Price Books. I've purchased both new and used books from them. They are a lot more affordable, and I spend more money there than any other store each month. Hopefully, that will make up for my years of neglect. ha ha

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