Thursday, November 14

As Times Change--

I am so late in posting this, I almost considered not doing it. But then I went to Blockbusters and had a little epiphany. Can one have small epiphanies?

I know some of you are surprised that I found a Blockbusters as they have been mass shut-down over the past couple of years and this one is no different--it's in it's last days.

My epiphany was how much I think we're going to miss by not having movie stores. And how much we'll miss bookstores if Barnes and Noble can't find a way to compete with Amazon and WalMart.

Twenty-five years ago, my husband and I opened up a little video store. Just before Hollywood Video came to town. We lasted a year before almost going bankrupt.

It was a mom and pop--minus the pop,as my husband kept his day job--operation. I was able to bring my baby to work with me, I wrote and finished my first novel, and I offered suggestions to my customers. I enjoyed that part, hearing from customers what they liked or didn't like and talking movies.

While I was walking the aisle of Blockbusters looking for movies to buy, I came across many movies I'd never heard of or seen before. And that's where my epiphany came in. As movie stores die out, the movie industry will become even more centralized--releasing movies that only the masses will want to see--or at least what the head honchos believe the masses will want to see.

Those small gems will become even more rare than they are today. There won't be a cashier or movie aficionado to suggest a "Dangerous Beauty" to someone looking for a great romance.

I'm lucky. I live in a major metro area that has art-house movie houses. Of course, I have to brave Portland traffic and downtown parking, but it's there if I want it. But the masses don't have that opportunity and that's where the video stores came in handy. Don't get me wrong, I love my Netflix, but I still think we're going down a road that someday we're going to regret. 

It's the same thing about Barnes and Noble. I love talking books with cashiers and getting advice about a new author or a similar writer to one I love. Its not the same getting the computer-generated suggestions on the bottom of my amazon pages. I mean those are good, but it's not the same as a personal suggestion from a trusted source.

And again, I'm lucky. Portland has Powell's bookstore. And even if B&N goes belly-up, Powell's will still be there. And probably more successful than ever because the true book lovers will come from all over the NW to visit.

Where once we had numerous bookstores in Vancouver--two in Vancouver Mall,a Borders, and B&N. Plus, a few independent resale book stores. We are now down to a stand-alone B&N, and a couple of resale shops.

I do love my Kindle and I probably spend more than I should--and on new books by new authors. And I do love finding a new must-read author and having their backlist at the ready.

But I wonder if we can't all find a way to co-exist? I hope so because I don't want to lost either one--Amazon or my beloved B&N.




  1. When the B&N near our house closed down, I was so bummed. I used to request B&N gift cards for Christmas. It wasn't just the books, but the comfy chairs you could curl up in and read. And the coffee! Yum. I'm getting misty.

  2. I think there has to be a way we can all get along and live in happy, book-reading bliss. Because as much as I love my Kindle, I like wandering the bookstore more. And I always buy more books at B&N or BAM (books-a-million) that when I'm perusing the Kindle store.

  3. Shawn--I totally agree. I love the atmosphere of my B&N, it's my second home.

    And Kristi--I love, love walking the aisles and checking out the new books.

  4. The nearest bookstore for me is a BAM 40 miles away, and sometimes I literally hunger for the feel of one. I took Walden Books for granted when I could visit it every day and would give so much to have it back. I love my Kindle and Amazon, too, but I miss those aisles, the cashiers who said "oh, that's so good!" when I was checking out and then told me why it was so good.

    This was a great, post, Margie. I'm so glad you put it up--I'd have hated to miss it!

  5. Thanks, Margie! What a touching and true post. My fave bookstore is Half-Price Books--for the obvious reason but also because sometimes it's fun to rescue a book that someone else no longer wanted. Plus they have other media, including magazines for a fraction of their original cover price (Architectural Digest, anyone?!). I am hopelessly addicted to my Kindle, however, and honestly, I rarely read in any other format. I don't want to believe that paper and ink are dinosaurs and nearly extinct, but on the other hand, am I doing my part to stop it if I'm reading e-books and shopping at HPB? Hmmmm...