Below is a post I wrote years ago, before I was published, but I thought I’d repost it now that Barnes & Noble is in trouble. See this NYT article: SAVE BARNES & NOBLE!
Now this old post seems both timely and heartbreaking to me, especially since I’ve forged such close relationships with many B&N managers and booksellers over the years since the first book in THE GHOST CHRONICLES series was first released.
Our local bookstore, the Borders I’ve always taken my children to for so long, is closing down. So the other day, I took my two boys one last time. I didn’t think the excursion would make me feel so nostalgic and melancholy at the same time, but it did.
I’d always loved taking my kids to the bookstore. I’ve been taking them since before they were old enough to read. When they were toddlers, we would go for the story time readings, or just spend time playing with the Thomas trains the store had on display in the children’s section. It was a way to get out of the house on a rainy day and a good excuse for me to go buy a new book.
There’s something about roaming through a bookstore on the hunt for something new and interesting. Not knowing exactly what might catch your eye. Being able to pick up a book, feel the weight of it in your hand, read the exciting back cover copy and discover a fresh, new story. I wanted my children to experience that at a young age and be captured by the same love of books that I had been when I was growing up. So as they got older, we would make a bookstore run at least once a month.
This time though, everything about our favorite store had changed. The shelves were partially bare and the remaining books in disarray. To me, it somehow seemed disrespectful to the books that were left, and as we walked around, a hollow feeling settled into the pit of my stomach. Maybe I was hungry at the time too, but I don’t think that was quite it.
My older son’s reaction to our visit surprised me the most. He looked almost as melancholy as I did. I hadn’t realized just how much he had enjoyed going to the bookstore until he said to me, “Do you remember all those hours we waited in line for the midnight release of Harry Potter five?”
“Of course I do,” I said with a tiny smile. “Remember the awful excuse for butterbeer that they served?” We both laughed.
So we wandered around one last time, picked over the messy bins and shelves like old bones, and chose a few books.
As we left my younger son asked me, “Mom, do you think eventually all the bookstores will close?”
“I hope not,” I said, “I sure hope not.”
So, has a favorite bookstore near you closed lately? Do you think one day all the bookstores might be gone and if so, would this bother you?