Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Henri's Lament: The Death of the Sunday Morning Bookstore Run

Gigi and I used to go to the bookstore nearly every Sunday morning.

Obviously, we both read a lot. The biggest hour in our week was spent browsing the shelves of whatever bookstore we chose on that particular Sunday. That morning period was something we looked forward to with great anticipation on most weeks of the year.

Now it is over! She reads eBooks, and thinks that I am still stuck in the past.

I still get to the bookstore; I’ve been doing that since found out that I could buy a book in the used paperback store on Lake street in Minneapolis for a dime, back in the 1950’s. I haunt the used stores and the new stores whenever I can, but it’s not the same.

The used book stores are going now, disappearing every day. I went back to one last week and it was gone. So was the owner, disappeared into the past like the onsite book trade is threatening to these days. The new stores are not far behind. Some great ones have fallen in the last two years, in New York, Boston, Pasadena and San Francisco to name just a few places where I have lost old friends.

Sure I can use the Internet. I buy books there occasionally, but I still like the feel and smell of a real bookstore. Gigi on the other hand could care less; she buys all of her books eBooks About Everything.  At least it pays for her books and mine and a usually a little more. We started it on a whim and it has grown into a real, if small, Internet business.

But I don’t want to read eBooks!!!!!!! I don’t want to buy from Amazon.com or any of the other stores on the Internet that are demolishing the bookstores that I still frequent!!!! I am the man without hope because the way of life that brought me so much joy is disappearing. In every town I ever visited someone used to make a decent living selling books. New books, used books, great books, awful books and every kind in between were all available in those stores.

Too much joy and pain passed through my mind that was carried by the books I purchased in those stores for me to ever want to give them up for something on the Internet. The Internet cannot convey the smell and feel of walking into a different store with the dream of discovering a new author or an unread tome by a favorite writer.

An now, added to that, I am in mourning most of all for all of those wonderful Sunday mornings with my lovely wife spent together searching for books to read on a lazy summer afternoon.

1 comment:

David, Yekkepotz Press said...

I suppose there's little we can do to stave off this inevitability. That simple tactile pleasure will never be replaced for those of us who inhaled our books.

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