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Another strike against bookstores

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by skip.knox, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I happened into a Barnes & Noble today. I had some time to kill, so I thought I would browse the shelves to look at covers and blurbs. Specifically for fantasy, of course, and more specifically at historical fantasy and epic fantasy.

    I stood for a moment in front of the shelves and then walked away. Like most bookstores, all fantasy is arranged by author, and all fantasy is mixed in (by author) with SF. Sifting through all that would have taken hours. Far more effective would be to browse at Amazon, where I could search by specific sub-genres. Moreover, I could cut/paste blurbs for later study and even grab cover images (and the artist name, usually).

    It was one more reason why online really is better. It's not just Evil Bezos. It's not merely gargantuosity (which really ought to be a word). It's utility.
  2. Russ

    Russ Istar

    Its funny, I find some bookstores break them out separately and some mix them together. I think it must be a function of the size of the bookstore.

    I do lots of book shopping both ways. Have never cut and paste a blurb or screen grabbed a cover though.

    I do know that I, and many others, still quite enjoying shopping in bookstores. For me, shopping in bookstores is not as utilitarian thing as it seems to be for you.

    It is definitely not a Bezos thing either. You can expect to see literally hundreds of Amazon B&M bookstores in the US in the next decade or so, and don't be surprised if Apple does them too.

    Lots of indy bookstores are doing pretty well at the moment.

    You may not like physical book shopping but the industry seems to be doing okay.

    On a more personal level I can tell you that the books that have disappointed me most are books have I have purchased on line rather than those I have purchased in a book store.
  3. Trick

    Trick Auror

    I have always hoped that, if the big box B&M bookstores mostly go away and online conquers almost all market share, we'll be back to little mom and pop bookstores. Not for the selection, though I have found some quality treasures in these little cubbies, but for the experience. Barnes and Noble tries for it but it's so plastered on; like a high quality mask on a mass produced figurine. Indy bookstores have an ambience of bibliophilism that is homey and warm.
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    > Have never cut and paste a blurb or screen grabbed a cover though.

    Just to clarify, I do this not to use directly but because it's a way to make a short list that I can study at my leisure.
  5. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    Local (new) bookstore has four shelves dedicated to fantasy/sf. First set is what I think of as 'classical sf/fantasy,' alphabetical by author. Titles seem to move fairly slow. Second set is for juvenile readers, moves pretty quick, also arranged by letters. Third and fourth sets are for teens, again one set fantasy/sf, the other oriented towards vampires, werewolves, and paranormal. Books fly off of these shelves. A very few of the newest, most popular titles are grouped with others on the 'new arrivals' tables. So...categorized by intended reader age first and popularity second, it seems.

    The multiple sections devoted to young adults and their apparent popularity give me hope that print is not dead. I do note that many of the books here appear to be similar to yarns popular in my youth, which again gives me hope.
  6. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    As a youngster I rarely bought books. My time was spent at the library. I have fond memories of the Galaxy Reader, and of working my way along the SF bookshelf, title by title (it was not a big library). I think it was not until I was 16 or so, and went downtown and was introduced to a used book store that I bought my own.

    If it wasn't my very first purchase it was one of my first. Not even on the shelves but in a back room where second-hand books still lay in boxes. A fat hard-cover book by Isaac Asimov. The Foundation Trilogy. Looked interesting. How much, I asked. Fifty cents.


    Definitely no chance of moments like that at Amazon.
  7. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    I used to visit the library at least once a week, usually two or three times to at least scan the new selections. Now, it's more like once a month.

    Likewise, I used to spend a lot of time in the used book stores around here - two left, both with substantial collections. Bought lots of books from them, found several otherwise unavailable titles. Alas, that too has dropped to maybe once a month, if that.

    For a very long time I ordered books through the SF book club - but then their selection dropped, and they badly botched three orders in a row. Haven't placed an order with them in a couple of years.

    Subscribed a couple years ago to a pair of paper magazines - 'Asimov's' and 'Fantasy and Science Fiction.' Both seem oriented towards older readers, with a fair selection of what I think of as 'nostalgia sf/fantasy.' And while the majority of the tales are by name authors, well...some of the pieces I see here are better than some of those. That and the way they utterly avoid the whole indy-author thing makes me wonder.

    Local supermarket used to have a fair book selection, but that dwindled away a couple years ago. I went from buying books there maybe once a month to once a year - last time was a dictionary/thesaurus.

    Couple years ago, I began placing fair sized paper book orders through Amazon. That dwindled off about six months ago when I finally figured out the rudiments of the Kindle Fire the daughter gave me for the holidaze last year. Past few months, I have been buying three or four E-Books a week. As part of a major housecleaning operation (just shy of 'renovation') I gave several hundred old paper books to a kid at work last week (then used some scrap wood to build him a set of bookshelves).

    More and more, I ponder the question: paper book or E-Book?
  8. My hometown actually does not have a single bookstore. And it's a quite large town, too.
  9. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    I used to love going to bookstores in my town. Borders, Title Wave, and Barnes & Noble were great places to hang out, drink coffee, and read books.

    Today, Borders is gone, Barnes & Noble is plagued with homeless drunks asking people for money (I haven't gone in ages because of this), and Title Wave is overpriced. Bookstores no longer exist in the way they used to here. So I either go to the library (which also has homeless drunks but at least there's security there) and order books on Kindle. Amazon ebooks are half the price of new ones and don't take up room on my shelves so...yes. A win.

    It's sad though because bookstores are wonderful places.
  10. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    You touched a nerve there, Chesterama. I used to have a fairly substantial library, between a lifetime of reading fiction plus the same lifetime as a professor of history. Hundreds and hundreds (though not thousands) of books. Last year I piled a dozen or so boxes of the better ones into my car and drove to Portland, home of Powell's Bookstore.

    They wanted almost none of them. Nor did anyone else. Libraries did not want them (except as donations to sell -- about twenty boxes of the lesser stuff went that way). My children did not want them. Nobody wanted them. It saddened me, but I had to confess--I didn't want them, either. It simply makes more sense to read books on a handheld device, and I no longer have room for twenty book cases.

    Bookstores are wonderful places. So are museums.
  11. ascanius

    ascanius Inkling

    I would have taken them. One of my goals in life is to have a private library like in the disney cartoon beauty and the beast.

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