Last week we found out that the front and back ball joints in my husband’s work truck were shot. It would take the better of all day to have it serviced. Yes! Date day! Turned out date day turned into date morning as they were finished by one. So, we had a lovely breakfast and spent the rest of the morning at the bookstore.
Now, I won’t mention which bookstore, but suffice it to say, of the 5 bookstores we had a year ago, it’s the only one left in town…or in any town within a good 50 miles. This was and is not my favorite, but beggars can’t be choosers as they say. Still, it was a lovely morning. Over the last year, we’ve mourned the death of 4 of our bookstores, including one a Mom and Pop store that’s been a fixture in our town since I was a girl. There are still used bookstores, textbook stores, and Christian bookstores, but the rest are gone.
I’d forgotten how much I’ve loved spending hours in the bookstore, browsing through titles I was able to pick up and hold, being able to rifle through a stack of magazines to decide which I want to buy. The last time I was in a bookstore was right before Halloween, so I’m sure I contributed to the demise, and I’m heartbroken to think that it may not be long before this last vestige of the bound and printed word will be gone as well. I realize I can still pick up a magazine at the checkout counter at the grocery store. God knows, I can’t possibly live without knowing who’s sleeping with whom or who the Middleton sister’s latest designer might be. How long will it be before we have no where to get a book written on paper with a cover on it? Will our public libraries be next?
Now, don’t get me wrong, my books have been published digitally, and I’m grateful. But it has been my dream, along with many other striving authors, to hold my printed book in my hands, see it on bookstore shelves, library shelves. When my last publisher closed its doors right after Thanksgiving, many of my colleagues chose to self-publish…a practice that was utterly taboo not so very long ago. If you self-published, you were basically saying to everyone, “I can’t get a traditional publisher, so I’ll just do it myself.” While many recent self-published authors still fall squarely into that category, despite the big bucks they are raking in, these authors aren’t among those. They are talented writers, their books solid stories and they deserve the attention and the money. Self-publishing is no longer embarrassing. It’s “the wave of the future.” Seems they used to say the same about Epublishing and now it appears to be.
I’m grateful for my digital titles, but I’m the first to admit I don’t love my reader. I understand it–a device for storing many titles. When packing for a trip, it’s a nice space saver. Students who are developing severe back problems from carrying mega-pound backpacks loaded down with countless textbooks would be overjoyed if all those text books weighed less than a pound. THAT would be a common sense use for Ereaders. But when I’m reading a book from it, it doesn’t feel like I’m reading for enjoyment. It feels the same as working on my computer. Work. I remember musical progression from vinyl to 8-tracks to cassettes to CDs, and swearing I would never go to the next thing, and I admit I still have many vinyl records I horde, still play and love. But I also have a slew of CDs…when you don’t have any other choice, you have to pick your battles. It just seems odd that Hollywood is choosing to remake every old TV show and cartoon we watched as children, movies that our parents loved. They are spending boatloads of money to preserve old movies. How long before we are reading only digital because we have no other choice? Is this progress? Or are we all so convinced that the world’s going to end at the end of the year, we just don’t care?
I will go back to the bookstore next week and spend more time. I will buy a few hardbacks and a few paperbacks because I never know when this will all be gone.