Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Just because Borders is gone...

While I'm a staunch supporter of ebooks, I'll admit that I do everything I can to help keep our local Barnes & Noble afloat. The fact of the matter is, I don't want to see bookstores die. It's not because of the print format. In this day and age, devoting our dwindling resources exclusively to this medium is wasteful and unreasonable.

No, it's because I think of bookstores as refuges. Places to escape. It's not just about buying books. It's about having a safe haven for readers to congregate, more so than what a library might provide. Economics have hit them hard, too.

When I walk into B&N, a sense of freedom washes over me. I know I'm pretty much surrounded by people who want to be there as much as I do. People who understand the value of books enough to buy them for their own. It doesn't matter that we might have different interests. When I take my husband with me, he invariably goes off to business and computers, while I head straight to romance and sci-fi. But that love of the written word bonds us together, just like sports or other hobbies might bond other couples.

I'm teaching my kids to see bookstores as something to be excited about. We go at least twice a month and stay for a couple hours. They get to browse, sit and read, maybe play (since my son is young enough still to do so), and we always take the time to sit and have a coffee/milk/pastry in the cafe. Buying them books is the one thing I never deny them.

They go to the library, too, but that hasn't diminished our trips to the store. If anything, it's made them better, because it's turning them into more discerning purchasers. Plus, the library has introduced both of them to series that we then went out and bought because they were keepers.

I sincerely hope they never lose the thrill of what it feels like to go to the bookstore. But the only way to make sure that happens is by supporting our local store as much as we can. The big box stores can't win. We can't let them.

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