Monday, April 29, 2013

Bookstore Closings (The New Era of Publishing)

One of two major chain bookstores in our nearby college town will close in the next few week. With a nostalgic sadness, I look back at the precious hours I've spent browsing bookstores, to include the one scheduled to close in mid-May. Browsing the shelves and running my fingers along the colorful spines. Inhaling the smell of paper and ink and relishing the expectation and excitement of holding a soon-to-be-read book in my hands.

Most of the reference books, such as books on writing, I read are in hardback or paperback, while the recent fiction I have read is in downloaded e-book format on Kindle.

Where I once had three large bookshelves of books in my home, the hard copy or paperback copies now fill three shelves. The local library has benefited by the streamlining of my books (even the complete Stephen King collection), and I have transitioned mostly to e-books for reading.

In less than the physical space of one paperback book, I am able to carry hundreds of books with me. Tucked in a zip-lock, Kindle is there when I light a few candles and read while soaking in the tub. Kindle, in its lighted protective case, can go camping and has traveled into the Canadian wilderness with me. With the Kindle, I can enlarge the text and give my overworked eyes a break.

E-book readers provide a versatility, flexibility, and availability that hold-in-your-hands books do not.

Although, I appreciate what this technology brings, when I visited the local bookstore and saw the sign announcing the store was closing, my heart sank to my toes. Despite e-book reading, I visit this particular bookstore at least once a week. Hubby and I shop both magazines and books and regularly leave the store with a good stash of both.

The newer upscale store opened a few years ago in a trendy shopping center. Shopping there is okay, but the feel of the store is more like a mall, where aisle items that have nothing to do with books or reading are strategically placed. Brightly colored and marketing savvy, the place reminds me more of grocery store than a bookstore.

When I started visiting J.A. Konrath's A Newbie's Guide to Publishing blog back in 2010, I knew the time of bookstores closing was coming, and even though Borders filed for bankruptcy in 2011, I didn't realize the actual process would come about so soon. No, times aren't changing, the times have changed, and the new era of publishing is here.

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