Wreck: The death of bookstores

Samantha Bashaw

My first love was books. The smell of newly printed pages brought me to a place where lions could talk and fairies became my best friends. I would frequently visit my hometown bookstore, yearning for the next series I could get my hands on. Stepping across the threshold meant entering a completely different world where I was happiest.

[media-credit name=”PJ O’Neill / Chronicle” align=”alignright” width=”300″]bookstore[/media-credit]

But then I grew up. Apparently, so did bookstores. As I got older, my novels did not get the same love. I rarely saw the homeyness of bookstores, and they felt the impact. The world was turning to technology, and pages turned to illuminated screens.

Amazon.com and e-books are now the go-to source for all your book needs. From purchasing children’s coloring books to mature audience-only novels, you never have to step foot into a bookstore again, and quite frankly, this is more of a tragedy than all of Shakespeare’s work combined.

Barnes & Noble has been a staple in the bookstore world, but it may be seeing some of its last days. Recently, the CEO of the Barnes & Noble chain was paid nearly $5 million to step down. This was the third time a CEO has left the company in just three years, showing the utter desperation Barnes & Noble is experiencing to stay afloat.

Along with the big chains, hometown bookstores have been disappearing around the country at an accelerated rate. These humble abodes of old librarians and worn leather are more symbolic than the books on their shelves. They are havens of comfort for any romantic, adventure seeking or sci-fi heart, where waiting three to five business days or scanning the glare of a screen just won’t cut it.

Authenticity is something rare in this age of perfectly planned candids and 140-character limit rants. Bookstores give us a break from reality, but maybe their appeal is because they are more real than anything else we have experienced that day.

Sure, books may not be going anywhere anytime soon, but their former home where they would all line up in attendance and eagerly wait to be checked out and stamped with a seal of approval will forever be missed.

The magic that these bookstores possess is something that no website can ever achieve, so long as they try. So R.I.P. to bookstores. My 7-year-old self mourns your loss. – S. Bashaw