16 May

I live in a small town. Very small. We have one stoplight. One. When they installed it about five years ago it caused a major stir. People who live in small towns usually don’t like a lot of change. It’s one of the reasons they live in small towns. Change happens rarely and slowly.

I grew up in Minneapolis which, back then, was more of a small town masquerading as a larger city. I’ve lived over seas and in enormous cities with mind numbing populations. I’ve never minded change.

Until this past week.

Change has been happening all over the country in the past few years as a result of the economy. Some good and some bad and most because people are simply trying to stay afloat.

Last weekend our local bookstore closed.

I cannot even begin to describe how devastating this is to me. I have never lived in a town without a bookstore. I love reading. I love books. I love to wander around a bookstore and see what is out there. Smell the paper and the ink. Feel the creativity. Immerse myself in other worlds.

And on an entirely different level, it scares me. Does this mean that bookstores truly are becoming a thing of the past? Are e-books the future? I don’t have anything against e-books. I have a Kindle and it’s great for travel. The convenience is awesome.

But it’s not a real bookstore. There is something magical and special about bookstores. Holding a book in my hands. It would break my heart to live in a world without bookstores.

What’s your opinion? Paper books vs e-books? A combination of the two? Do you have a favorite bookstore?


Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Idaho


Tags: , , ,

12 responses to “Bookstores

  1. Zen

    May 16, 2012 at 4:02 AM

    Paper books, definitely. I occasionally read ebooks, but nothing beats the feeling of holding a book between your hands and flipping its pages and inhaling its woodsy smell. My favourite bookstore recently opened a new branch that’s even closer to where I live – three huge floors stacked with books, couches where you can sit, windows overlooking some nice scenery and clean, crisp colours everywhere. I felt happy just walking through the doors.

    • Meredith Allen Conner

      May 16, 2012 at 7:39 AM

      Oh, I have some serious bookstore envy going on right now! I could spend a week in a store like that and still resent having to come back to reality! I love paper books too. I like my kindle, but nothing beats an actual book.

  2. Liz Fredericks

    May 16, 2012 at 5:15 AM

    First, I’m sorry for the loss, Meredith. It might not be a person, but it’s an important attachment and mourning is mourning.

    I’m with you on the kindle for convenience, but HAVE to hold a book at times. There’s something soothing about the weight ~ stories are a lovely escape (depending, I suppose, on the ones a person likes) ~ the book’s weight is just one more sensory cue that the story is coming. Will it be the case in the future that the sound of a computer powering up will have this effect on our children’s children? Because I know in the case of my children, they have books. Only mommy gets the kindle. 😉

    • Meredith Allen Conner

      May 16, 2012 at 7:43 AM

      I felt like wearing black the week the bookstore closed.
      There is definitely something comforting about the weight of a book isn’t there? My youngest wants a Kindle Fire. She has to save her money up, if she wants it. But I don’t worry about her not wanting a real book. She came home yesterday bursting with excitement because she had her Scholastic catalogues – she had circled half the books to order 🙂

  3. Janis McCurry

    May 16, 2012 at 7:06 AM

    I use my iPad for reading while on trips. But, at home, it’s a book. I’m sorry about your bookstore closing. I’ve read articles that consider a large reason for the demise of books. I’m not naive enough to blame them entirely. Cost of production, reluctance of publishers to change their business model, personal finances all go into it. It is sad to see so many brick and mortar stores closing. As for a favorite bookstore, I like B&N mostly for the decor. Dark woods and cozy chairs make it feel English library-ish to me. Not that I’ve ever been in an English library. 🙂

  4. Meredith Allen Conner

    May 16, 2012 at 7:55 AM

    One year for my birthday my husband built 2 enormous bookshelves for me. They are literally overflowing with books 🙂 We have a B&N in Idaho Falls and that is my “treat stop” every time I go. I took a road trip about 20 years ago and every town I drove through I stopped, looked up the used bookstores and made a stop. Almost all of them had little nooks with a chair for reading, a small table with tea or coffee available and rooms crammed with books – so inviting!!! More English library on the downtrodden side – not that I’ve ever been in one of those either 🙂

  5. marsharwest

    May 16, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    Gosh, Meredith, I can’t imagine living in a place so small there’s only one stop light. I’m sorry for your loss, but it’s a miracle you ever had a bookstore in such a rural setting. Odd you wrote this just now.
    Yesterday, I was on my way out to the car and passed one of my numerous bookshelves and considered its crowded state. I thought, will I cease to need bookcases? What about houses that have whole rooms dedicated to the library? Will they also go the way of the Dodo bird? Granted, maybe none of us live in a house like that, but if we write about it in a book, will people in the future wonder what we’re talking about?
    Daily I mourn my shrinking newspaper. I read just the other day, one of the editors say we’re looking at 5-10 years before they’ll go all digital. They seem to be waiting for just a few more old codgers to die. 😦
    But….as I age, it is soooo much easier to read from my Nook. And I don’t have to stress about not having enough space for the new books.
    I’ve never been one to just hang out in a bookstore–maybe because I don’t hang out anywhere–my workaholic gene demands I be accomplishing something. Yes, the smell is divine like in a library, but I go in shop for what I’m looking for and get out to the next thing. I’ll always keep books, but…
    Surprising I’ve been able to adapt to the e-book, because I HATE change, but…it’s so much easier for me to read and easier to buy.
    I don’t read “real” books this way. Just purchased a book on dialogue and was glad it was a paperback, so I can easily highlight and put post its. I know that’s possible with my Nook, but haven’t developed that nack, yet. 🙂
    Sorry for such a long response. Clearly you pulled my emotional buttons. I hope you can make frequent trips to Idaho Falls.

    • Meredith Allen Conner

      May 17, 2012 at 7:42 AM

      Actually Marsha, your long response makes me feel better. I do like my Kindle – it is convenient and maybe I need to be simply celebrating books in any form. I still can’t imagine a world without bookstores, but our reality today isn’t what it was 5 years ago.

  6. ramblingsfromtheleft

    May 16, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    Meredith, I am a lover of book stores and libraries. The visceral touch, the feeling of getting lost in another world … all of it magical. I use Kindle for PC since I don’t travel and still like the convenience of e-books. I read on the computer in my office space, and books in the kitchen. I don’t know what the future holds for our beloved book stores … but for now I can enjoy them and ebooks. I hope it takes my entire lifetime to get even close to replacing all of our precious books with electronics 😉

  7. Meredith Allen Conner

    May 17, 2012 at 7:44 AM

    Ditto Florence! I love books and writing period, but I don’t want to choose one form over the other!

  8. maryvine

    May 17, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    Well, I find my Kindle is easier to sit down and ignore sometimes, versus a book sitting on the same end table. I do like the convenience of having a library at my finger tips with Kindle. I’m so glad I have my three books in print as well as ebook formats, since ebooks are all the thing and will continue to be more so in the future.

  9. Clarissa Southwick

    May 21, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    What a tragedy, Meredith. I hope you can come shop at the bookstores in Boise more often.


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