Book Stores

Discussion in 'Reading & Writing' started by Ken Anderson, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,454
    Likes Received:
    9,813
    Throughout the country, bookstores are closing as more and more people begin using Kindles or other electronic readers, and as fewer people have even taken up the habit of reading. Even schools are beginning to abandon printed books for electronic ones. I don't have hard numbers in front of me, but I don't think it would be wrong to say that most kids don't ever develop the habit of reading anything other than text messages, let alone printed books.

    I know that I am as much to blame for this as anyone because I rarely buy a book in a bookstore anymore, other than perhaps regional books that I might come across that have never made their way into Amazon.com. Still, I much prefer browsing a bookstore to doing searches on Amazon.com.

    What I really miss, and one of the few things that I miss about Southern California, are the the used bookstores that were so common there, or used to be anyhow. I particularly liked the ones that were not particularly organized, where I could just dig through boxes of books looking for something that interested me. There was one like that in Fullerton, California. They also carried review copies of books that never made it into widespread publication. There was a cafe connected with it, and I could spend hours there.

    There is something similar in downtown Bangor, with a cafe, but it is much better organized. Unfortunately, Bangor is seventy miles away, parking in that part of town is horrible, and I usually go to Bangor with my wife, to get some particular things, and then we come back home, so I seldom go there. For a while, a few years ago, my wife was working in downtown Bangor, and we had only one car, so sometimes I'd drive her to work and hang around Bangor until she got off.
     
    #1
  2. Sifu Phil Bonifonte

    Sifu Phil Bonifonte Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    337
    I also mourn the loss of used bookstores - their crazy lack of organization, the weird people browsing the stacks, the smell.

    NYC had one huge used bookstore that I particularly loved. Spent hours in there - one time when I went in it was spring; when I left there was 4" of snow on the ground and Christmas trees all around.

    I used to have a huge collection of books - a true terror when I had to move - but they were like old friends hanging out in my house, always ready to have some fun. Now the books I have are lifeless zombies captured on my computer.

    As a writer I'm still not sure how this effects me. It has certainly changed the bar for publishing with the advent of self-publishing, but at the same time everyone is now an author and the competition is fierce. I have one hard-copy of each of my book and I guard them like diamonds - the rest are floating around in the Ether.
     
    #2
  3. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,827
    Likes Received:
    6,956
    I think that you are totally right about the bookstores disappearing, just like the newspapers and probably the magazines as well, @Ken Anderson .
    We still have a Books-a-Million here that has a little coffee shop and places to sit and read; but you never see very many cars parked there; so I do not think that they do a lot of business.
    We also have a few used bookstores, and of course, all of the thrift stores have bookshelves. I used to look for books when I went to the thrist store or to yard sales; but now that I also read most everything on my Kindle fire, I seldom even buy a paperback book unless it is for some special reason.

    Amazon Prime has a feature that you can borrow books from the Kindle Store, providing that you have an actual Kindle to read them with, and not just the app on a different device.
    Some of the books that I borrow are expensive ones if you were going to buy them, and as long as it is not a book that I need to keep a copy of, then just borrowing them works great.
    Right now, I am reading "Babylon Rising", by Rob Skiba , and that is almost $20 to buy it, or almost $8 just to get the Kindle edition. Since I am only borrowing it, and reading it on the Kindle Fire, it cost me nothing, and I can keep it as long as I want to .
     
    #3
  4. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,454
    Likes Received:
    9,813
    One EMP and our culture would be erased.
     
    #4
  5. Sifu Phil Bonifonte

    Sifu Phil Bonifonte Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    337
    Ouch ... more hurt for authors.

    I never understood the whole coffee-shop-in-a-bookstore thing. It isn't a library. It's like going into a new-car dealership and taking one of their vehicles to use for a day or two. I actually stopped going to Barnes & Noble years ago when they stuck those pretentious coffee bars into them.

    ... actually, they threw me out for hunting down people reading my books and smacking them on their heads with "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire".

    Hardbound edition, of course. :D
     
    #5
  6. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,454
    Likes Received:
    9,813
    I visited a used bookstore in New Orleans in the mid-1980s. It was housed in what looked to be a three-story home and, while there was no coffee shop, there were chairs and tables here and there, with a pot of coffee brewing. I loved the atmosphere, but I don't remember if I bought anything.
     
    #6
    Ruby Begonia likes this.
  7. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,827
    Likes Received:
    6,956
    Actually, I think that it helps authors when Amazon has promotions of their books, @Sifu Phil Bonifonte . Every day, Amazon puts a few books out for free, and people can just download them, and those can be kept once you get them. The Kindle Library, on the other hand, you return the book after reading it, and then (and only then) can you borrow another book.
    However, both of these promotions actually benefit the writer of the books. Many of the people who read the books will also write a review of the book, and those reviews do help to sell the book. Even if some of the rviews are bad; people will still see that there are a lot of reviews (which means that people are reading the book), and that some of the reviews ARE good ones.
    When you borrow the book, like I am doing, and it has a lot of information in it that I may want to be able to retreive again, I may decide that I actually want to own the book after reading it, and go ahead and purchase it.
    So, either way, it helps out the author.

    Amazon also has a new thing that they are doing for Prime subscribers. Each month, they put out some of the newest books free, and you get to choose one of them to read , assuming that there is one that you are interested in. People who do not have Prime can get them at a reduced rate; so either way, people are reading the book and writing reviews, and telling their friends about the book.

    That is one of the things that I really like about Amazon , is their promotions. They also give away an app (that usually costs money) for free each day as well. Since I only use my Kindle for reading; I do not even bother with checking to see what the free app is; but for people who like to play games on their Kindle tablets, it would be a really great idea.
     
    #7
  8. Sifu Phil Bonifonte

    Sifu Phil Bonifonte Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    337
    Sorry, Yvonne - maybe I'm too old-school but I still think that if you want to read a book for free you go to the library (which, incidentally, purchases author's books at reduced rates). No matter what kind of spin Amazon puts on it they're still shorting authors with their giveaways.

    Yes, you get reviews. How many people in the real world decide to buy a book or not based on reviews? Maybe a handful that read the Sunday NY Times reviews. All the rest? Impulse purchases, or they automatically purchase the latest thriller by their fave author. Reviews on Amazon are also, of necessity, submitted by amateurs. That's going to hurt as well, especially the negative ones ("I bought this book and it stinks - it has nothing to do with what I thought it did!"). One review like that can cripple sales, even though it has nothing at all to do with the actual book itself.

    Writing and publishing a book is a labor of love and involves many sacrifices, sweat and blood. Are authors not entitled to the paltry royalties they earn?
     
    #8
    Cheryl Torrie and Tom Locke like this.
  9. Pat Baker

    Pat Baker Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    Messages:
    877
    Likes Received:
    459
    One of my favorite things to do is to drift thru a second hand store that has lots of old books that I can just look at, take my time and read a few pages or half of the book if I have time. It is sad to see the local book stores closing because everything is online. The feel of a book in my hands and turning the pages of the book is not the same on a Kindle.
     
    #9
  10. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Messages:
    2,997
    Likes Received:
    4,558
    I love this subject because for about 10 years I worked in a small used bookstore. I lovd to read then, and you can imagine the amount of books I had!

    We also had some new publications and magazines. The diversity of people that walked through that door was amazing. We had students, artists, housewives, teachers, crazy people, kids, doctors, authors...... my boss once said: "Sooner or later, they all walk through that door".

    We had a coffee pot on for the customers at all times and it was free. They could take their styrofoam cup around the store while they shopped. They even smoked! We had ashtrays tucked into shelves or standing at certain spots. Yes, clean up wasn't fun, but I drank the coffee and smoked too. (then)

    Oh the stories we heard! It was so much fun. We also sold rolling papers and like things.

    It was the best job I ever had in my life. Unfortunately, the owner became ill and lost the store. My then husband and I even considered buying it, but it would have taken way too much.
     
    #10
  11. Sifu Phil Bonifonte

    Sifu Phil Bonifonte Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    337
    Great story, Ruby - I liked those kinds of bookshops.
     
    #11
  12. Linda Binning

    Linda Binning Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    420
    I have always loved used book stores. As so many of those have went by the wayside, I've turned to thrift stores and now most of them I go to are slowly getting rid of their books and making the book area smaller and smaller. I buy books off eBay and at yard sales but I seldom go out and pay for a brand new book.
     
    #12
  13. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    2,261
    Traditional bookshops are vanishing in the UK as well. I worked for a well-known bookseller in Oxford and while I was an IT person, I still thought of myself as part of the bookselling world. Most of the people I knew from those days have since been made redundant.

    There are still a few pockets of resistance. A visit to London's Charing Cross Road and the immediate area is like travelling back in time. There are still bookshops all over the place, but there are not many oases like this.
     
    #13
  14. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Messages:
    2,997
    Likes Received:
    4,558
    It is sad. My son said to me a long time ago, "books will become obsolete due to the Internet and computers". I told him he must be crazy, it could never happen. Well.....
     
    #14
  15. Sifu Phil Bonifonte

    Sifu Phil Bonifonte Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    337
    We have only ourselves to blame.

    We talk of the old days, of how wonderful it was to sip coffee and spend hours in the store reading books. What we don't speak of is how few books we actually purchased.

    Is it any wonder the bookshops are gone?

    Now we lay like slugs on our orthopedically-correct computer chairs and spend our money at Amazon and the like, because it's sooo easy.
     
    #15
    Ruby Begonia likes this.
  16. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,827
    Likes Received:
    6,956
    You are behind the times, @Sifu Phil Bonifonte ! I USED to use my computer chair and read from on the computer monitor (which was seriously uncomfortable for much reading); but once I got my first iPad, all of that changed , as in the "twinkling of an eye".
    I now relax comfortably in my recliner chair, Chipper nestled on the rug at my feet, and read with either the iPad or the Kindle. Most of the things, I read with the iPad, and since I have the external keyboard, I use it for posting on forums, as well.

    When I am just reading , then I prefer the Kindle, which is smaller and easy to hold, and has different settings to adjust the light input for reading, as well as the font size.
    You can't do that with regular books. Whatever size print they are, or whatever size the book is, that is what you have to deal with. And if you happen to be traveling, and in the middle of a flight, you finish your book---- then what ?
    With e-books, you can store as many as you want when you go somewhere, and not worry about it taking up space in your carry-on luggage, or having to take extra books along on the trip.

    All that being said, I DO worry about the fact that we are losing print books. If we had an EMP, or some other calamity that left us (as a nation) without access to our electronic devices, what will happen to all of the knowledge that is stored in those books ?
    And will there even be people in the future that can read the books, even if some are saved ? As was mentioned, the children of today seem to communicate with text messages, and the "no child left behind" schooling is producing college kids who still can't read or spell correctly.
     
    #16
    Linda Binning likes this.
  17. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,454
    Likes Received:
    9,813
    I have hundreds of books, which I bought new and used. When we bought our house, we tore down the walls between two bedrooms to form a library, which is full. Plus, I have five bookcases in my office, a small one in the living room, and another small one in the bedroom. On top of that, between us, my wife and I have four Kindles. Since our library is open for only a few hours a week now, libraries being another thing that are closing all over the country, I don't use the library often, but I have frequently bought books that I read in the library because, if it was a good book, I wanted it in my own library.
     
    #17
    Yvonne Smith likes this.
  18. Sifu Phil Bonifonte

    Sifu Phil Bonifonte Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    337
    I'm reminded at this point of the great Edward G. Robinson as the last librarian in Soylent Green ...



    Thank you.

    No, but what you CAN do is wear some magnifying glasses and get a decent, directional reading lamp.

    Then you put the book away, order a drink and look out the window at the glory of Nature.

    Sheesh, do I have to teach you people everything?!?! khekhe.gif

    And as soon as someone swipes your iPad because it's so glittery and latest-generation, there goes your book collection.

    I've never had anyone try to grab my suitcase full of books or, if they did, they never got very far.

    Don't worry - it will still be safe in Ken and my libraries. hi.gif
     
    #18
    Yvonne Smith and Joe Riley like this.
  19. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,827
    Likes Received:
    6,956
    Truthfully (I guess it's time to admit this) I am at heart , also a book collector. My problem is that I am also somewhat of a vagabond wanderer; and the two just do not mix well together.
    Even though I spent my life growing up in one house, after I became an adult and got married, the moving started.

    My first husband was a construction worker, so we sometimes moved every few weeks as he went from job to job.
    After we had children, we didn't move quite as often; but there were all those boxes and boxes of books that had to be packed every time we moved.
    I would try to cull out some that I thought that I could live without; but there was still a lot of them left anyway.

    My idea of a Dream House was one that had a real Library, with the wood paneling, and bookshelves on all sides with a fireplace on one wall, and a comfortable couch or chair near the fireplace.
    However, even though I moved so many times over the years, it was never to a house that had such a room, or even close.
    Now, I have resigned myself that such a library is never going to happen in my life, and most of my cherished books have had to be left behind in one move or another; and I am afraid to collect any more. I am down to 1-2 boxes now.
    Truthfully, I have packed around even my church song book since 1990, and I have not even had my Omnichord for the last few years to play any music with; so I do not know why I hang on to even that, but I do.
     
    #19
  20. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Messages:
    2,997
    Likes Received:
    4,558
    After my divorce, I left that home and room that Yvonne speaks of. I had the built in shelves, the fireplace, good reading lamps, all of it. I had to purge!


    I gave away, donated and threw away a small library and my collection of antique magazines with lovely illustrations and timely articles of the day that were historic, in retrospect. Sometimes I cried over the loss, but bottom line... I was free.

    I know all about the Collector's addiction, most of my friends would almost steal to add to it.
     
    #20
    Yvonne Smith likes this.
  21. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Messages:
    2,997
    Likes Received:
    4,558
    As a former bookseller I appreciate your insight Sifu Phil, about "how much did we actually purchase?".
     
    #21
    Sifu Phil Bonifonte likes this.
  22. Linda Binning

    Linda Binning Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    420
    I've thought of the exact same things Yvonne. Its a real concern.
     
    #22
  23. Sifu Phil Bonifonte

    Sifu Phil Bonifonte Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    337
    To be honest as well ... most of my real books are gone, scattered to the four winds over years of moving.

    Had I lived a more stable life I'd probably still have them all (including over 400 on martial arts alone).

    Now, sadly, I only have a hundred or so books on my laptop. :(
     
    #23
    Linda Binning and Yvonne Smith like this.
  24. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,827
    Likes Received:
    6,956
    I know just what you are saying, @Sifu Phil Bonifonte .
    My equivalent of all those 400 martial arts books was complete sets of the Arabian Horse World magazine, including the yearly January Stallion Issues (the horse version of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue) , and several years of the registry volumes for the Arabian Horse Registry.
    They were from back into the 1970's and would be collector's items now.

    Gone also are all of the horsetraining books and videos, several years worth of old (collectible?) Mother Earth News from the 60-70's, as well as old editions of Poe, and several old early 1900's era novels, like "Shepard of the Hills" and similar classic books.
    Also missing are the original releases of "The Hollow Earth", and several of Erik Von Dannikens "Chariots of the Gods" books, and others along that line of interest.
    There were the health books by people like Gaylord Hauser, Dr. Jarvis (Vermont Folk Medicine), and many of the other health and nutrition writers of that bygone era.
    And lets not forget the motivational books, Norman Vincent Peale, W. Clement Stone, Zig Ziglar, and Og Mandino, just to name a few.

    Even when I can find these books and read them on the Kindle, it is truly not the same feeling inside as I get when actually holding a piece of history in my hands and know that it is not just the book, but also the cover, that is a treasure.
     
    #24
  25. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,454
    Likes Received:
    9,813
    I also once had the first several years of Mother Earth News, from volume one, but I lost them when I forgot the bath water on one day and flooded the house. Unfortunately, Mother Earth News was on the bottom shelf of the bookcase.
     
    #25

Share This Page