Monday, May 9, 2011

Mark The Grave

Remember when we lamented the demise of the independent bookstore? We swore the chains were conspiring to push them under. Barnes and Noble and Borders were the evil empires, crushing the poor mom and pop stores into oblivion.

Now we all gather to mourn the passing of the chains. In my neighborhood, almost all the Barnes and Nobles and the Borders locations are gone. I went from having the independents like Dutton’s—four locations in Los Angeles—and the chains—one Borders and two Barnes and Nobles within a five mile radius—to just one Barnes and Noble. Bookstores in Los Angeles are disappearing faster than spring flowers in Death Valley.

To add insult to injury, I drove by the most recently closed Borders location only to see it had already been etched with graffiti. Worse, one tagger’s pen name is “Thinnk.” That’s right: with two letter Ns.

Inside the shuttered bookstore with the shelves standing empty and forlorn, all the lights were on. In broad daylight!! I guess for the ghost readers who haunt the place?

Sure Amazon will deliver your books to your doorstep, but I am a dedicated book browser. I enjoyed wandering through the shop, discovering some gem on a shelf. Amazon works well if you know what you are looking for, but I love surprises. Now it seems the best used bookstore in town is Goodwill. Sad days, indeed.


  1. this is truly a shame isn't it Paul. But with the closing of the monsters there may be a resurgence
    of our old dusty book smelling haunts.
    let's hope.

    good shots here.


  2. Hope, indeed, Robert, but like so much of what we remember from our past, I fear some things disappear never to return. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. I hope books, and by association, libraries and book stores do not disappear. The book has been around a long time. They have been burned and buried, but never obliterated. Let's hope they will always be our touchstones. Thanks, Robert, for your comment and for reading.

  4. Books are being thrown away, or sometimes packed away, as digitized versions become more available. This is an important time to plan carefully for there is much at stake.


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