Saturday, July 7, 2007

The loss of something you love

Just a quick note today - The Waldenbooks down the street from our house on West Portal in San Francisco is closing. Now, for us book buyers, the event is fortuitous; It allows us bibliophiles to gather up all of the books we have been wanting or were not sure about buying at full price at 25% or more off. However, it is still a sad day. Any time a bookstore closes, even one that is part of a major corporate national chain, is a sad loss. It means that people do not go out of their houses any more to buy books; it also means that people are generally just not buying and reading books any more. It seems in this day of instant information and entertainment, the "old-fashioned" pastime of reading a book sentence by sentence, page by page is starting to go the way of the Dodo.

Now, not to worry; if you were concerned about the welfare of the employees of Waldenbooks West Portal, they are being transferred to other Borders locations. And it is not as though West Portal is without other bookstores. It is the meaning implicit in the closing of the bookstore that bothers me. As much as I love to find instantly what I want online, click once or twice, and have it magically appear on my door step in five to seven days, I much more enjoy walking into a store lined from floor to ceiling with books for me to see, touch, and smell. It is a sensory experience for me as much as it is a shopping trip. You also get the chance to talk to the people working there, the people working closest to the books, about the unique little world of bookselling.

That's it, really. I just wanted to share my dissapointment with you all in a world that would allow a bookstore to close and yet another hair and nails salon to open up down the street. There is no excuse for that.

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