So originally this blog started with a reference to a prior post about my emotional breakdown at Blockbuster when they were all closing down…but then I went to look for the post and alas, I never wrote it. Sigh. In short: I was really bummed by the realization that movie stores are now a thing of the past. Sure, there’s redbox and netflix and hulu, but there’s something to be said for actually walking into a place, looking around aisles and aisles of movies, arguing with your husband over what you want to watch, finding nothing, and then walking out with something you’re kind of ok watching. And then having to physically return it so you don’t get charged late fees. Sounds less than glorious, but I kinda liked that experience. Knowing that future generations will never know what that’s like is kind of sad…and scary. Things are changing so quickly these days (I wonder if that’s how older generations felt also…).
Ok, now we can move on to this post. I’m having a similar emotional breakdown about Border’s closing down. One more down. It makes me wonder: how much longer until Barnes & Noble closes down? How much more after that until books are no longer published? Which just made me think back to Blockbuster…how much longer do you think DVD’s and Blue Ray’s will be around for? I wonder if it’s just a matter of time before all movies will only be available for download, online or directly through your cable provider.
There’s been talk for a while about the death of the publishing industry, and it honestly makes me sad. Indeed, the title of this blog is less than creative, since a simple google search of “death of books” or “death of bookstores” will come up with ample reading material (including this one, which is a great sentimental piece about the love and affinity of books, compared to e-books: “‘I wonder if anyone has ever cried while reading an e-book'”).
As great as I hear they are, the idea of reading on a Nook or Kindle just doesn’t cut it for me. I like having the actual book, I like being able to put it on my bookshelf when I’m done reading it. I like turning the pages. I like highlighting parts of it, and writing notes in the margins (yeah…I really do that). Jeff agrees with me on the sentimentality of having physical books to hold and turn pages to, but he also made a good point: in our day and age, we really shouldn’t be cutting down trees just to make books; it makes complete sense to move to electronic forms of publishing, which are cheaper and have less of a negative impact on the environment. He compared it to using gas as fuel for our cars: it’s something our society should be past already. Like one of the articles linked on this post mentioned (but I’m too lazy to find it, quote it and re-link it), I do understand the utility of e-books when traveling, or for large reference books, etc. I couldn’t agree more, but the idea of books someday being a “1984” thing of the past is scary. Kindle has actually taken all of the sentimentalities into their ad campaigns, and I think I hate them just a little bit for mocking my emotions:
As mentioned in the Huffington Post: “Electronic books may make rare texts available to the world and allow us to pack dozens of books in our carry-on bags, but they also single-handedly responsible for the decline of print publishing.” The whole article is actually a good read, and in closing expresses the sentiment which has keep me away from the closing sales at Borders: “Surrounded by red and hornet-yellow markdown tags, I couldn’t help but feel I wasn’t witnessing the death of a bookstore, but the slow, succumbing death of the book itself.” That was my exact thought when I heard of the closing of Borders. Books, in their entirety, will someday cease to exist. In someone else’s words: “…the idea of reading printed books will be a tiny boutique experience, not unlike collecting vinyl.”
I imagine that our kids are going to have all of their textbooks downloaded to their laptops. They won’t have to lug around heavy textbooks for French class or Algebra. They’ll just have their laptop with all their textbooks on there. Will libraries become nonexistent? I loved going to the library in elementary school and junior high. It’s sad to think that my kids will not experience that (although maybe they’ll be more normal than I was and just not like to read at that age), although I’m sure they’ll be replaced with other experiences that I didn’t have as a child. Who knows.
(Speaking of kids and reading and coolness. Jeff mentioned that he was listening to Kevin & Bean on KROQ the other day, and they were talking about the closing of Borders and how they basically couldn’t care less, because reading is stupid. For those not in the Southern California area…Kevin & Bean are morning DJ’s for an alternative radio station. They’re over forty…catering to high schoolers. Apparently there was only one guy on the show that talked about books in a positive light, and expressed his enjoyment of reading. The forty year old made fun of him for reading…and I couldn’t help but wonder if they just got stuck in the mind set of a high schooler who thinks that reading is lame, or they’re just pretending because that’s the age group that they’re catering to. Either way, I don’t think Jeff has been able to listen to them since, ha.)
Just like the era of movie stores being over…I sadly feel that the era of bookstores, and books for that matter, is quickly coming to an end. And I mourn our loss.