Thursday, August 15, 2013

Please help me save this endangered species

I want you  to buy a book.

 

Today.

 

And I want you to go to a bookstore to buy that book.

 

I want you to do this because the future of books themselves may be at stake.

 

Here's the story.

 

More than half of the books purchased in America today are not actually books.

 

They are something called  e-books.

 

This means you read the written word on a digital device instead  of turning  pages where ink appears on actual paper.

 

These devices are convenient because hundreds of books can be contained in one slim device you carry in your briefcase or purse.

 

E-books are also less expensive because you avoid paying for the manufacturing and shipping of those hardcovers and paperbacks.

 

E-book proliferation also threatens to bring to  extinction one of my favorite places on earth: the bookstore.

 

I remember when Waldenbooks, B. Dalton,  and Borders were found in every mall and shopping center.

 

All gone.

 

In Northeast Ohio, Barnes & Noble is hanging in there holding the line.

 

In other parts of the country, chains called Books-a-Million and Joseph Beth  are carrying the torch.

 

And  the battle isn't just against the lower cost and  convenience of e-books.

 

The bookstore itself has been the target of discrimination by your government.

 

The cheap e-book is transmitted  wirelessly without the payment of a sales-tax that your local brick-and-mortar retail facility is forced to impose.

 

This discourages customers at the store front.

 

In addition, the walk in retail establishment pays property taxes, rent, payroll, and utilities.

 

 

 

And even if you are shipping actual books to your home, you're probably going through the online behemoth called Amazon.

 

Amazon dominates the marketplace without all the  neighborhood store overhead that I've listed.

 

Yes, the bookstore, with its thousands  of tomes waiting to be cracked open  so that you can read the dedication page.

 

What's more fun than reading the dust jacket of the latest Stephen King release and then smugly putting it back on the shelf as you avoid following millions of literary lemmings chasing after another overrated over commercialized author?

 

How about the children's section?

 

 

Feeling the texture of the puffy toddler books and pulling out the pullouts.

 

Being transported back to a simpler time  when Curious George  and Dr. Seuss could capture your imagination.

 

Get lost in the wonder and enchantment found at Barnes and Noble or  one of those independently owned bookstores where out of print volumes can still be found.

 

 In any case, I think you get my point.

 

I love real books and I love real bookstores.

 

I don't want them to go the way of the Edsel.

 

So, go shopping the old-fashioned way to help preserve a special experience.

 

Besides, you don't want to take one of those digital devices into the John.

 

My wife calls it the "reading room".

 

The only reading surface allowed in there is made of real paper.

 

Old fashioned and analogue, that's me.

 

 

Paying cash.

 

See you in the checkout line.

 

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