Thoughts on Books and Bookstores

I’m researching book mobiles and book bikes and such to figure out ways to increase literacy and the love of reading. I’m tired of blogs foretelling the death of books as a physical entity. At some point they will meet their end but we are not there yet. At the very least, rich book collectors will keep the first editions of “masterpieces” in plastic sleeves on their built-in shelves, much like a collection I saw a few weeks ago (which focused on African-American dialect written by white people, of course–ugh).

Cost and accessibility are problems: new books are expensive. Libraries and book stores are not always easy to get to, or the selection isn’t great–used bookstores especially, or once surrounded by stacks of books, you forget what you want to read, you can’t remember authors or titles picked up in friendly conversations, or the staff is nonexistent or unfriendly.

Furthermore, bookstores once doubled as the printing press or publishing house of literary reviews and magazines and were the hub where writers and readers converged (i.e. Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company, Left Bank, Paris, 1920’s) Sure, online forums are great places for that but, personally, that’s not my thing. Plus, trolls. I want to have a face to face conversation and allow my excitement to carry me into the nth cup of coffee.

Though the independent bookstore is doing well in the midst of big chain bookstores failing or downsizing, it is necessary to revamp the bookstore model. Digital books and media must be included in the selection and other revenue streams must be found….more on this later. Shakespeare-and-Company-Hemingway-Sylvia-Beach-Adrienne-Monnier bookstoresgothamliterary1948party_zps193d7c73 The literary crowd of Shakespeare & Co. Joyce and Sylvia BeachSylvia Beach and James Joyce

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on Books and Bookstores”

  1. […] I wish for increased ridership on public transportation; dedicated bike lanes; attainable rents for startup businesses or discounted rents for the first 6 months of rent; successful implementation of the Market and Exchange Plaza renovations; window displays in abandoned buildings; more interactive public art; a nighttime gathering space that isn’t centered around alcohol; politicians concerned with living wages, alternative transportation, and all things green; great anchor tenant in 227 Fayetteville; a local grocer near my home; BIKE SHARING; a neighborhood cleanup; utilization of empty lots; shelters at bus stops–I’m bare to the elements; streets democratically oriented towards pedestrians and cyclists, not large personal vehicles with lonely riders; pedestrian scrambles on Fayetteville during the lunch rush; food trucks!; c’mon parklets!; affordable solutions for downtown living; a bar in the basement of the Velvet Cloak; intersection repair; mixed used buildings that haven’t been value engineered; a GOOD donut shop; light rail; and, as always, more books. […]

  2. Catherine, did you know your great Aunt Cora owned and operated the only Bookstore on the Square in Boonville, Indiana?? She owned the bookstore in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. She shut the doors to the bookstore when the schools, upon consolidating, starting selling textbooks at the schools. The textboks were her main revenue stream. Although she was the Barnes and Noble of the day since she had all the books and periodicals. Grampa Dick and Gramma Ruth lived above the bookstore until they had their 3rd child. Maybe Colleen can dig up some pics from the Museum to show you.
    Colleen remembers working (dusting the books) in exchange for all her Nancy Drew books that she still has.

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