Everyone I know who has a Kindle absolutely loves it. And with good reason, it’s a fantastic technology; it’s portable, compact and puts thousands of texts at your fingertips. Not to mention the lack of backlighting makes it easy on the eyes and readable outdoors (hey iPad, can you do that?). I applaud you Amazon, you’ve not only created a great product, you might have managed to best Apple. High five.
But the thing is, I like books. The real ones, the ones that have pages that actually turn, the ones made of paper, ink and glue. The ones that take up space on your shelves like a visual reminder of all the intellectual crap you’ve managed to cram into your cranium since birth. I like how they smell, I like how they feel in your hand. I like that pulling one out on the bus automatically indicates to the creepy guy next to you that you’re not really interested in hearing about what his friend’s brother’s fiancée thinks about the outcome of last night’s Lakers game.
And I like bookstores. I like seeing hundreds of spines stacked in immaculate order. I like getting lost in shelves that tower overhead like the walls of a larger than life maze. I even like all the little extras that stores try to tempt you with while you’re standing in line waiting to pay –things no one needs like overpriced leather bound notebooks and embossed bookmarks with silk tassels.
So it makes me sad to see bookstores closing because of the popularity of electronic books. And it’s not just mom & pop shops that are feeling the heat, even megabrands like Borders are being forced to shut down locations across the country due to declining sales. In May, the Borders on Broad Street will close its doors. While this represents just one of many bookstores in Philadelphia, it’s an indication of a larger nationwide trend: bookstores are going the way of the dinosaurs.
Someday soon, I’m sure I’ll pick up a Kindle and, despite my better judgment, fall in love with its slick interface and inability to give me paper cuts. But I hope that day doesn’t come too soon because I still have many bus rides ahead of me and a lot empty shelf space to fill.
by Stacey Toseland