The Funeral for Bookstores Has Long Passed

At my age, living in two worlds of digital and print, I lament one passing as I try and embrace another medium. There is an advantage to BOTH, but it’s a world that is not allowing “both” very well anymore.

My wife and I were traveling through Des Moines, Iowa yesterday so we stopped at a Christian bookstore that was a good one. We have a few here in the Cities, but I’m generally not a fan of them. This one was more independent and had a decent variety of books.

At least they DID have a wide variety. While they are still there, the shelves are incredibly sparse. It’s a struggle for them.

This morning, I see this post by Ben Witherington lamenting the passing of the bookstore as well.

I am using digital far more these days. I can carry so many more books around this way. But, I understand Witherington’s lament as well:

Disembodied books have the same problems as disembodied education in general. It doesn’t involve ethos, or real contact with actual other human beings in person. It doesn’t involve incarnational presence. It doesn’t involve a social dimension, say consulting your favorite owner of a book shop and building a friendship over the years. In short, it is a more gnostic approach to reading, learning, knowledge.

It’s the same with anything we’ve done online. Online shopping, banking, networking… we’ve really removed a social dimension and we truly are not better for it.

It doesn’t mean I’m going to go back to all print books. I have to shift and in the process try to add more meaning to what I am doing, and try to demand more of people in the process. It’s a tough road, but one we have to travel in this fast-changing world.

4 thoughts on “The Funeral for Bookstores Has Long Passed

  1. oh, the whole thing is overblown. I have purchased lots of paper books over the years. I never built any kind of relationship with the clerks, many of whom lasted just a short time. If I need a book, I ask a friend, read a review, or, ask a facebook friend. There is the social aspect right there.

    1. Oh blah blah blah. Mr. Crankypants. 🙂

      I like the contact, I actually DO ask questions of staff, and really love the knowledge some staff have on books. Amazon doesn’t have very good coffee counter service, either. lol

      But, alas, I still do order online, use more ebooks, and generally am a bad person letting brick and mortar stores dry up.

  2. Ok, you do have a point about physical stores. Its just not important to me. I am price (and now space sensitive) so I order on line. I use to love browsing a good book store, but as more of them disappeared (like Borders), I shifted to online.

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