Fahrenheit 451: The Demise of the Bookstore and So Much More
At first I was surprised. I parked and got within 3 feet of the doorway before I realized Bookstar was closed and empty. It seemed a bit surreal, I mean I'd just been there a few days before Christmas and this store had been open for years and years, the closest one to my house. Yes, it was a chain, but the independents have been few in this state, and a chain store is better than no bookstore at all.Then came the news of the Borders closings, and I realized we were up against a much bigger debacle than I'd realized. Look what happened with Virgin and Wherehouse, said the little voice in my head. Wake up, lady. This touchy-feely have to hold the album - book - CD - DVD - magazine in my hand thing is going going gone. Don't you know it's the digital age? Everything's electronic, everything's instant, get a Kindle and stop hauling around cartons of books. Welcome to the 21st Century. Don't be a fuddy duddy, get hip, be cool, make sense. Who needs that stuff?All of us, even though many of us don't know it. I have grown up in bookstores, all over America, and so have my children, and so many of my friends.
I simply can't imagine what life will be like if there's no more bookstores to walk into, browse through, touch the covers, read a couple of pages to be sure reader and writer are compatible, feel the thrill of seeing a book you know you're going to love, just sitting there waiting for you -- and if you hadn't walked in and seen it, you'd have never known it was out there. Bookstores are a treasure trove, a sanctuary, a place to go for solace as much as inspiration. Places that still are a small oasis of civility, with companionship and like-minded people who are in love with words.
I went into Borders during their closing sale and I found I couldn't buy anything. I wandered around the store, which in three days already looked shabby, uncared-for and rifled through. I picked up a book or two here and there but put them back down and ambled on. There were a lot of people that I usually don't see in the store, grabbing books and talking loudly. When I passed the children's section, my eye fell upon a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit, lying on the floor, its cover marred by a bootprint. I picked it up and sat it up on a high shelf, out of harm's way. It didn't deserve this. I found myself blinking back tears. None of us deserve this.I hurried out of the store and didn't look back.
What is termed "progress" is trampling my dreams. Yours, too.