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Old 07-21-2014, 10:41 AM   #1
Sydney's Mom
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Only Myself to Blame

I currently work from home, which is wonderful, but every once and awhile I go downtown to meet with my colleagues. Last week, I went downtown, and about 3 in the afternoon (I never take lunch) I was needing a pick me up, so I went downstairs. There is a bookstore in the first floor of our building. Well, I walked around, and saw that I have or am on the wait list for every book they had displayed. So I went back to look at magazines, and I subscribe, digitally, to every one I was interested in.

What a bummer! I have seen people talk about how sad they are that the book stores are disappearing, but I couldn't relate. But when I can't get my jolt at 3:00 from Books A Million, I understand. And as someone who has bought less than 10 pbooks in the last 6 years, and those from Costco, I understand that I have only myself to blame.
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:49 AM   #2
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I only buy lengthy series that I enjoy in paper for collection purposes. The rest of the stuff I read is generally pretty forgettable or disposable and unnecessary to own in physical form.

My interest in bookstores really started to wane when trade paperbacks started taking over the sf/fantasy shelves; I don't have/can't justify $17 for something that I'm going to blow through in a handful of hours, and once I'm done with will become a dust collector.
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:51 AM   #3
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Perhaps, using the Library waiting list, instead of buying books, might have more to do with the economic survival of such book stores - So yes, you have only yourself to blame.

Luck;
Ken
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:34 PM   #4
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I buy Baen Bundles a few months out. That is my 'waiting list' of books. All others are bought on a whim.

I can't remember the last time I was in a B&M bookstore.
Not after Borders closed their stores.

So many (New) bookstores have gone away. Some chain. Some independent.

Even Used bookstores are closing. Rents in this area are absurd.
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Old 07-21-2014, 04:04 PM   #5
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I haven't been in my (physical) public library this year. I hope it'll survive without me.

(No, not being sarcastic.)
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by theducks View Post
I buy Baen Bundles a few months out. That is my 'waiting list' of books. All others are bought on a whim.

I can't remember the last time I was in a B&M bookstore.
Not after Borders closed their stores.

So many (New) bookstores have gone away. Some chain. Some independent.

Even Used bookstores are closing. Rents in this area are absurd.
Around here the rents are *not* really absurd...
...but everything else you said applies.
(And it's not just bookstores.)
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:36 PM   #7
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I understand that I have only myself to blame.
No. You are not.
No consumer is obliged to support any business for any reason other than receiving fair value in goods and/or services for your hard earned money.

There is no reason to guilt-trip yourself for acting rationally (in both the economics and real world senses). And paying for something you can legally/ethically/morally get for "free" (you pay your local taxes, right?) is not rational.

It is up to them to offer up something useful or of value that you can't get elsewhere if they want your money.
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:45 PM   #8
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Unless you want the bookstore to stay in business, in which case giving it your patronage would be to your own benefit.
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:53 PM   #9
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Unless you want the bookstore to stay in business, in which case giving it your patronage would be to your own benefit.
Why would I want to spend money there just to keep them in business if they don't carry anything I need?
That isn't business, that is charity.
(Which some bookstores have resorted to, at that.)

I prefer to channel my charity funds through the United Way.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:26 PM   #10
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Well, if you were looking for something to pass the time, you could have picked up a crossword or sudoku puzzle book.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:38 PM   #11
Ken Maltby
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
Why would I want to spend money there just to keep them in business if they don't carry anything I need?
That isn't business, that is charity.
(Which some bookstores have resorted to, at that.)

I prefer to channel my charity funds through the United Way.
My point was that you can't express your lament in the disappearance of a business that you don't patronize. Even as I may have fond memories of time spent in neighborhood and used bookstores, I greatly enjoy the expanded reading resources that ebooks have provided. You can't have it both ways.

Luck;
Ken
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:08 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ken Maltby View Post
My point was that you can't express your lament in the disappearance of a business that you don't patronize. Even as I may have fond memories of time spent in neighborhood and used bookstores, I greatly enjoy the expanded reading resources that ebooks have provided. You can't have it both ways.

Luck;
Ken
I'm not exactly disagreeing.
I just don't see why anybody needs to feel guilt at all.
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Old 07-22-2014, 12:23 AM   #13
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My point was that you can't express your lament in the disappearance of a business that you don't patronize.
One could lament that a business one liked failed to stay relevant and value-laden and so went under.

My immediate thoughts about the downstairs bookstore were did they make the store inviting to e-readers?
Charging stands for ereaders/tablets?
Hosting book clubs or discussions?
Open and free wifi? Can be slow.
e-reader friendly and savvy worker bees?
Putting out displays of physical books based on the Amazon/NYT top e-books?
Sell good coffee at a good price?
Display books that are not available electronically and have language saying so?
Inviting local authors who have written ebooks and placing their physical books out (can't autograph an ebook)?
Made announcement emailing lists for their 'net-savvy customers?
Annual or lifetime club membership with inexpensive but fun perks? ("This luxurious 1970s-vintage La-z-boy recliner is reserved for bookstore members")
Appropriate reading lights?

It seems to me a bookstore sells ambience and the experience as much as books. I bet there is a niche for a small bookstore to cater to readers and their needs; these needs don't necessarily have to center on physical books.
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:38 AM   #14
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I must be getting old because the last time I went into a "downstairs" (independent local) bookstore was a LONG time before the last time I went into a Chapters (which in itself has been awhile)... back in the day when people would look at you funny for even suggesting something like a "charging station" - because why would anyone need to charge their walkman batteries on-the-go? lol
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:19 AM   #15
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I worked at a well-regarded independent bookstore in the early 90s. Chain stores like B&N were our enemy. Fast forward to today: the independent bookstore closed in 2008, and B&N is my daughter's favorite store. In the winter when the weather is bad and we just want to get out of the house for a little bit, we all go there and browse books, maybe have a snack at the cafe. Yes, I get my ebooks from the library and Amazon, but I buy my daughter books at B&N, I'm a member there, and I often buy toys there for friends' birthdays.

I do think the day will come when our local B&N closes. We will be very sad, and I won't blame myself.

eP
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