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Today I went into a bookstore for the first time in over a year or maybe longer. It was a very nice indie store that also sold espresso and goodies. I'm addicted to espresso, so I should have loved it...but I didn't.

I compared it to sitting on the computer at home, drinking my own espresso (good stuff) and browsing through ebooks on Azon or B&N. Admittedly, I'm a bit antisociable :), but the store seemed stuffy with displays determined to make me spend money (which I didn't do) on books I found only mildly interesting from mostly the Big 6 and a few over-hyped locals. I like to support locals, but not if they're not very good.

I don't know where I'm trying to go with this, except to say that I really do think the bookstore days are limited. This particular store had added a ton of cards and specialties, and you could tell they're trying to unspecialize from books only. I bought an espresso and bagel and bailed.

Just some probably insignificant trivia from Rusty Wilson's day here...
 

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I was in a B&N store recently and noticed that the shelves behind the checkout counter where they keep orders and holds were almost empty. Those shelves in this particular store used to be packed -- maybe eight to ten shelves, completely full of books.

I couldn't help but think that this may be a sign that bookstores are going down the tubes. More and more people are using e-readers and/or buying books online.

I think the days of the brick-and-mortar stores are numbered.
 

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I still see bookstores as Reader Disneyland, but part of that is being a good distance from any of the larger stores. And, as much as I like going to them, I don't buy too many books there. Before the Kindle, I could easily come up with a huge stack.

We went to the cities for the Harry Potter movie and stayed a couple days -- a mini-vacation -- and so I found myself in a Borders twice. The first time I ended up buying a discount cook book and two kids books to donate. I found myself back there the next day while my husband went to a hobby store. This time I bought some magazines and writing manuals. I collect writing manuals, I just don't read them.  :p

I don't know. Clearly, Borders isn't going to make it. I have more optimism for B&N. Borders being gone reduces some competition and they were smart enough to really focus on the Nook. Borders has Kobo, but it's not their reader, and it's too little too late. I think there will be a place for indies still.

Of course, there was the place in Seattle with the focus on mysteries that has taken a hard stance on not selling books from Amazon's new mystery imprint. Since they own the Ed McBain books, that seems like a move more motivated by a temper tantrum than solid business sense.

The people here prefer the Kindle for various reasons, but we all come from a print book reading background. There is a nostalgia there, a sentimentality, that book stores can use -- as long as they don't frame it as an us (print) vs. then (e-reader readers) thing.
 

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I love my Kindle but I hate that it's helping to kill book stores.
 

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I don't know if our nearby B&N's are dying, but it looks like they are selling a lot less books. Their shelves have a lot of books that are now displayed with the covers facing out, instead of their spines. The shelves hold many more books when the spines face out, so now they look kind of empty. I think the recession started the lack of inventory, but now I think ereaders are causing it to continue. I don't think ours will close anytime soon, but it's sad to see the decline. I still like to browse in there even though it doesn't provide the same excitement that it once did.
 

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tsilver said:
I love my Kindle but I hate that it's helping to kill book stores.
I completely agree.
 

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It depends on the bookstore. There was an independent bookstore about 20 miles away (everything is about 15-20 miles away from where I live) that closed up when the owner retired and could not find a buyer. The she and the staff there knew books and knew authors and were solid at making suggestions and just general conversation with customers. Those are the bookstores I miss.

There's an independent bookstore about 20 miles the other direction that I support with some purchases. They're much larger and have a coffee shop and chocolate attached. There is usually an older manager, but most of their staff (although friendly and helpful) are high-school age, or just beyond and not as well read and thus, 'helpful.'  They appear to be doing okay, and I regularly see a a commercial of their running on the local stations/cable.

The nearest mall had both of their chain bookstores close up shop two years ago (well, the mall itself has a lot of empty space) and the next hearest mall has a B&N, but I rarely travel that far to visit the mall. I'm not a mall person.
 

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I love bookstores and every once in a while, I'll make the 60-mile trek (120 miles round trip) to go to one. But I'm sad to see that one of the ones I used to visit is no more and the B&N appears to be struggling. There's just something about the browsing experience that I truly love.

My only consolation is that I can peruse libraries, although since there's a new trend to making libraries into work areas with fewer (if any) actual books, I'm a little nervous that our days of happily walking through rows of books are numbered. It's a shame because I adore books and there really is nothing quite like the experience of a huge, old-fashioned library or bookstore.

Our kids don't know what they're missing.
(In addition to being unable to write cursive or sign their name except in block letters.)
 

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I want it all:  ebooks and bookstores.  Boo hoo, weep, weep
 

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I live near a large city in the Midwest, and we have quite a few big-box bookstores and a few smaller used book stores.

Whenever I have a chance to visit one (which I still love to do, despite my Kindle), the stores are always busy.  I still love the feel and smell of paper books, even though I have some books on my Kindle.  I also love being surrounded by books, in a bookstore or even a library.  Maybe it's the weight of knowledge impressing itself on to me....

I don't foresee the death of bookstores just yet.  The next generation, though... we'll see. I think in 20 years it will be a whole different story.
 

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I hope that bookstores manage to stay around.  There is one great indie store here in Chicago called the Book Cellar that has a great cafe, food and a great bookstore look.  They have also had me there to do readings from my print books three times and are very supportive of local authors.
 
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