- Fizzy Thoughts: Doomsday


Thursday, July 10, 2008

What would you do if, all of a sudden, your favorite source of books was unavailable?

Whether it’s a local book shop, your town library, or an internet shop … what would you do if, suddenly, they were out of business? Devastatingly, and with no warning? Where would you go for books instead? What would you do? If it was a local business would you try to help out the owners? Would you just calmly start buying from some other store? Visit the library in the next town instead? Would it be devastating? Or just a blip in your reading habit?

Thanks to our local Borders and Barnes and Nobles, the internet versions of B&N and Powells and occasionally Amazon, Bookmooch, Paper Back Swap and my TBR pile, I think I’d be okay. Because there would have to be a catastrophe of epic proportions to wipe out all of those sources. And if that happened, I probably wouldn’t be around, either. Of course, I’d be sad if something happened to one of these places, but I’d adapt. I’m kind of used to it.

My towns have seen lots of bookstores come and go. And I say towns because Morro Bay currently has no bookstore. The horror! It used to have the very cool Patronik’s, but they closed about 10 years ago. Oh wait, there is a bookstore, but it’s one of those new age-y, woo-woo places. So I do my book shopping in San Luis Obispo. Which used to have the also very cool Earthling bookstore. It closed when I was in college, though. Then Barnes and Noble came to town, and life was good. And then Borders arrived a few years ago, and life was even better. Then the used book store closed up, which was a bummer, until I discovered Powells buys used books on-line and pays the shipping. There is still one little itty-bitty independent bookstore in town, but it’s very tiny, so I’m very sorry little independent, but I can’t shop at your store. I split my in-person book buying between Borders and B&N, depending on what side of town I’m on, and what coupons I have. If something happened to one of them, I’d just spend all my time at the other.

If I lived in Portland and something happened to Powell’s, then I would be devastated. Because that is one seriously cool bookstore. Their on-line presence is pretty nifty, too, except they ship by slow boat. So I order a lot from B&N, because I’m a geek and I have their membership card plus their mastercard to get extra money off. And their free shipping rocks.

Then there are Bookmooch and PBS, two on-line sites for swapping books which give me even more options. And I guess I could drag myself into our local library, even though it doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies. Or I could read the books I have at home. That could keep me busy for maybe a year.

So I guess I’m saying I’ve got options. Now if the internet suddenly collapsed, that would be a whole ‘nother story…

3 comment(s):

jlshall said...

If the internet suddenly collapsed, I'd have to be locked in a padded cell somewhere. But with my towering TBR pile, at least I'd have lots of reading matter in there!

readerville said...

As much as I love the internet for researching books and reading reviews, I don't like using it for book shopping. I know that's probably kind of weird in this day and age, but there's something great about holding the book in my hands, breathing in the smell of it, and being able to flip through the pages before I decide to take it home.

marta said...

Something like what you mention did happen to me a couple of years ago. Seattle is located in a fantastic county - King. I live just across the county line in the next county but they had a reciprocal agreement to let non-county residents check out books. The library had an awesome on-line library. This is back pre-web days when I dialed in via telnet. What was even better - they let you dial in, check out books online and they *mailed* them to your house.

I was totally addicted. I got all my travel books using the library plus bunches of cookbooks, novels and other great items. One day, I dialed in and was denied access. What!??? I went to my closest branch and I found that out of county users could no longer use the library on line. And we could no longer order books from other branches. I was limited to what I could find on the shelves.

I was devastated. I felt so violated. I think I cried all the way home.

I switched to buying books and gave up the library. Several years later, a little card appeared in my mail box. They asked me to come back. On-line services were restored. They no longer mailed books but I could put them on hold and have them shipped to my closest branch.

Life is good again. :)

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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