Saturday, February 25, 2012

Why bookstores are an endangered species

The Dallas Theater Center recently staged a production of Giant. You might recall the movie from the 50’s starring Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. It was based on a novel by Edna Ferber, one of the most successful American authors of the 20th century. I had mixed feelings about the DTC’s musical, not the least of which being I hate musicals. Hate musicals, love opera. Don’t ask me why-that’s just how it is. It seems I’m one of the few people alive that has never actually seen the movie, neither have I read the book. Since everyone I know was a bit incredulous when I told them about it--the general consensus being that Giant is not the stuff of which musicals are made--I began to wonder how it the musical compares to the book.

Giant apparently doesn’t exist as an ebook, but I found myself in the northern ‘burbs the next day and I decided to pop in to the nearby Barnes & Noble. I figured that there was a better than average chance they’d have it, since the Theater Center’s production has been getting rave reviews. Nope. So I trekked back across the frozen tundra to Civilization, stopping at another Barnes & Noble on the way. Nope. I had to go to four bookstores before I finally found it.

One hopes that the reason a major novel by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author was so hard to find is that there was such a flurry of interest that it caught bookstore managers all over town by surprise. Somehow I doubt it. It is, however, beside the point. The fact is, if there’s a book you want to read and it’s not the latest “Twilight” novel, you’ll probably have to order it online. This suits me just fine, as the brick-and-mortar stores don’t carry my book anyway. (They’ll order it for you, though, if you ask.)

There used to be a Borders in my neighborhood before they went under. It was within walking distance, but the one and only time I went there they didn’t have the book I wanted. They offered to order it for me, but if I’m going to do this, why not just order it from Amazon? It’s not their fault--they have room for a finite number of books. I’m actually one of the small percentage of the population that still shops at bookstores. Or I would, if there were any close to me and they had the books I want to read. No matter how much I love books, it’s just so much easier and faster to download an ebook, and that’s what I usually do.

Any thoughts on the future of brick-and-mortar bookstores? Real books vs. ebooks? I’d love to hear your opinions.

4 comments:

  1. I think one possible reason for not being able to find 'Giant' is that the large chain bookstores stock what the publishers send them. Personnaly, I love bookstores. Bookstores, with tangible books on the shelves, enable you to browse in ways that online retailers simply cannot. I wish no ill on the major chains, but I hope that if the chains continue to struggle, the solution will be that independent bookstores make a come back, rather than that all bookstores are lost. One of the greatest things about independent bookstores is that they stock a curated collection of books. A good independent bookstore can turn their customers on to books and authors that they may otherwise have never known about.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous, you have a valid point regarding the publishers. Yet another reason why they are deservedly losing their control over what's available for us to read. And I agree, you can't beat a good indie bookstore. I just wish they weren't getting so hard to find.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've ran into this as well. Gone into a large chain only to have to order from the web. I wonder why they carry so many subjects are are dated and not in demand? Larry S.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That prompted large protests and lawsuits, including one by Connie's son Judson Uhre who said her racially charged rant harmed the household enterprise. “While we understand and appreciate the desire by a number of the} tribes to extend online gaming past their 메리트카지노 reservation boundaries, a transparent legal path does not exist for the governor to grant such a broad enlargement of gaming,” Burgum said in a statement. WUSF 89.7 is dependent upon by} donors for the funding it takes to offer you probably the most trusted source of reports and information here in town, throughout our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving month-to-month, or make a one-time donation online.

    ReplyDelete