What is a bookstore anyway?
My favorite walk-around urban spot is Bethesda. It’s a very accommodating area to dine, get a cup of coffee, or just people watch. The heart of this edge city outside Washington, DC, is one block anchored by a Barnes and Noble bookstore. Now that store is closed. The news reported the store could no longer justify the rent.
At the other end of the block, just across from the Apple store, is a storefront with signs in the window touting the opening of an Amazon book store in the Spring. Guess Amazon had no issue with the rent.
Amazon has a different take on the concept. People like to browse, touch the book, turn the pages. All the books in the Amazon store provide that; however, there is just one copy of each book on the shelf, turned with the cover out. Want the book? Scan it with your Amazon app and it’s delivered just as any other order from Amazon. So, it appears you can’t take a copy out of the store, a tradeoff I suppose in providing the browsing without the company having the cost of stocking.
Beyond the brick and mortar concepts, the independent book stores are making a comeback, even if the store must have coffee and gifts for sale to break even. So, I’ll always have a place for a book signing.
The bookstore is not dying. How can it? There are more books in print and more readers than ever. But adjustments are being made. Stories thrive as they always have, from days of oral tales to modern cinema. Is just the words are delivered differently.