I don’t have to go into a long spiel about how important independent bookstores are. Chances are, you’re read numerous articles lauding the impact of the fast dying local bookstore. I can however, discuss my personal ties to bookstores.
I grew up in the library generation. I have fond memories pre-Internet days when my parents would walk my sister and I to the small local library and we would spend hours browsing the shelves and sitting down with our picks.
The same applied to bookstores. We had a favorite bookstore across the street from my sister’s junior high school, where we bought all of our books. It sadly closed down as large retailers like Barnes and Nobles and Borders started cropping up, even though we tried hard to save it.
The moral of telling this story is that newer generations likely won’t have this experience as bookstores and libraries are fast diminishing. I admit, I am guilty of buying books from Amazon. As a college student I was able to get “Prime” for free and ordered all my textbooks for less off the site. The same goes for novels as they are often cheaper and are delivered within days of your order. However, there is still no comparison with buying a book from my local bookstore.
With online retailers, I know what book I want to purchase going into the site. In contrast, I’ve discovered so many amazing books, by browsing the shelves of my local bookstore – something that isn’t possible online (even with the automated “suggested” links).
Sure, your e-reader may be more convenient to carry around, and ordering a book for $2 online versus $5 in a local bookstore saves money. However, the there is still nothing that compares to picking up books that you would never have otherwise discovered.
*Below is a few books I picked up on a recent trip to one of the last surviving local bookstore in the town I grew up in.