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(io9)   Good old fashioned brick and mortar bookstores are, sadly, dying out. There are many factors contributing to their demise; higher illeteracy rates, laziness, free wi-fi, inexplicable coffee cafes, and general malaise   (io9.com) divider line 255
    More: Asinine, Barnes & Noble, science fiction writers, online shopping, romance novels, charlie jane anders, bookstores, online communities, Citria Publishing  
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5563 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Jan 2010 at 2:40 AM (4 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2010-01-14 10:56:26 PM
As I wandered the stacks in dismay I noticed some changes at my local Borders. First off, there were far fewer actual books on the shelves. They've expanded the space for non-book products and reduced the space for actual books.

God, is THAT ever true. the selection of books around on the shelves these days is horrific. my local library is getting more of my business these days - better atmosphere, free (and easily hacked) wi-fi, better selection all around. I just have to deal with the hassle of bored cops looking for parking violations.
 
2010-01-14 10:57:51 PM
Someone needs to lead a revolt against General Malaise and his junta of corrupt cronies.

I'd do it myself but I just can't be arsed.
 
2010-01-14 11:01:05 PM
higher illeteracy rates

I really want to believe that was intentional, but my Scully sense is tingling.
 
2010-01-14 11:02:14 PM
Weaver95: As I wandered the stacks in dismay I noticed some changes at my local Borders. First off, there were far fewer actual books on the shelves. They've expanded the space for non-book products and reduced the space for actual books.

God, is THAT ever true. the selection of books around on the shelves these days is horrific. my local library is getting more of my business these days - better atmosphere, free (and easily hacked) wi-fi, better selection all around. I just have to deal with the hassle of bored cops looking for parking violations.


The local 'book' store by me has more overpriced BR discs (US$30-40)and DVDs(US$20-30) in the store than books. Every time I go there looking for a particular book it is never in stock, but "could be shipped to the store for free."
 
2010-01-14 11:04:24 PM
I think the used bookstores are still doing OK, they're largely small local places. You can actually talk lit and get advice on authors you might like from them, as opposed to national chains where all they can tell you is where the coffee bar is.
 
2010-01-14 11:06:05 PM
Ghastly: Someone needs to lead a revolt against General Malaise and his junta of corrupt cronies.

I'd do it myself but I just can't be arsed.


we live in a culture that's just not interested in looking over that next hill, or finding ways to expand our horizons beyond what's right in front of us. we want corporate entertainment - safe, bland, and reliable. Even our horror fiction is exhaustively explained in almost excruciating detail. So it's not surprising that we'd cut back on sci-fi.
 
2010-01-14 11:07:47 PM
And just how many Twilight series displays do they need in Barnes & Noble anyway? You can't walk five steps without being visually assaulted by emo vampires.
 
2010-01-14 11:08:50 PM
Harcourt Fenton Mudd: The local 'book' store by me has more overpriced BR discs (US$30-40)and DVDs(US$20-30) in the store than books. Every time I go there looking for a particular book it is never in stock, but "could be shipped to the store for free."

Yeah - I end up doing most of my shopping via amazon, or just hit up the library.
 
2010-01-14 11:09:25 PM
ToxicMunkee: And just how many Twilight series displays do they need in Barnes & Noble anyway? You can't walk five steps without being visually assaulted by emo vampires.

the emo vampires need to meet Mr. Tremere.
 
2010-01-14 11:09:52 PM
Bookstores aren't dead, but as databases such as Project Gutenberg online make their way into mainstream reading, there will be a decline in book sales.
 
2010-01-14 11:10:59 PM
Weaver95: ToxicMunkee: And just how many Twilight series displays do they need in Barnes & Noble anyway? You can't walk five steps without being visually assaulted by emo vampires.

the emo vampires need to meet Mr. Tremere.


The emo vampires of Twilight could get their asses kicked by a Toreador.
 
2010-01-14 11:11:50 PM
susansto-helit:
The emo vampires of Twilight could get their asses kicked by a Toreador.


now THAT is an insult!
 
2010-01-14 11:29:02 PM
As long as Half-Priced Books is still in business, I am a happy girl.

/loves me some book bargains
//wants to work there this summer
///ALMOST a dream job...and I can wear my Chuck Taylors and jeans!
 
2010-01-14 11:31:44 PM
Did anyone else notice the irony of illiteracy spelled wrong in the headline, or was that just me?
 
2010-01-14 11:36:59 PM
GAT_00: Did anyone else notice the irony of illiteracy spelled wrong in the headline, or was that just me?

Nope. You're the only one. Good for you!
 
2010-01-14 11:49:26 PM
The main factor I would think would be cost. I can get a book for $14.99 at the bookstore, or for $9.99 on Amazon. Better yet, if it's a popular book I can buy it used for $6.99 at one of many online used book dealers.

I enjoy browsing in a bookstore, but I rarely buy anything unless it's on sale. I just take note of the name and look for it cheaper online.

There's a great used bookstore where I live though, I can spend all day there and usually come home with my backpack straining at the seams.
 
2010-01-14 11:51:27 PM
12 years ago, I used to hang out at b$n once a week with some friends.

We'd be there for a few hours and usually bought books. We did not spend this time in the cafe - we were out in the shelves, where there were a few places 5 or 6 people could congregate, one way or another.

Then they 'renovated' and made all the shelves two rows shorter. And removed most of the furniture so that it was awkward to have a group larger than two anywhere but the cafe.

So we stopped hanging out there. And bought our books from amazon instead.
 
2010-01-14 11:53:49 PM
MuadDib: higher illeteracy rates

I really want to believe that was intentional, but my Scully sense is tingling.


I am going to assume it was deliberate, until/unless subbi fesses up. It's too, too good.
 
2010-01-15 01:01:29 AM
Books suck. There is your answer.
 
2010-01-15 01:48:47 AM
tudorgurl: GAT_00: Did anyone else notice the irony of illiteracy spelled wrong in the headline, or was that just me?

Nope. You're the only one. Good for you!


I do take umbrage.
 
2010-01-15 02:00:04 AM
"NewsBusters" (new window) is upset that Ebert called Limbaugh "fat." "NewsBusters (new window)" is also upset because Ebert implied Limbaugh might be racist.
 
2010-01-15 02:01:39 AM
In other news, I posted in the wrong thread by accident.

Good day.
 
2010-01-15 02:10:19 AM
krazydiamond:
There's a great used bookstore where I live though, I can spend all day there and usually come home with my backpack straining at the seams.


I like the atmosphere in smaller bookstores. the larger big box stores all seem to want customers in the cafe, buying overpriced coffee and snacks. There doesn't seem to be much encouragement to hang out and browse a few books.

Not to mention that most of the books I find myself interested in don't seem to be in the store. Recent example - I wanted to get a copy of this as part and parcel of some research/development for a shadowrun project. none of the local big stores had it. so I ended up getting a copy off amazon for a pretty reasonable price. 'tis on it's way to me right now. Older books don't seem to have much hang time in those stores - if it's more than 5 years old, it seems like the corporate stores don't put it on shelves. they want the trendy new stuff, and they market the hell out of it.
 
2010-01-15 02:15:22 AM
On a weekly basis, I stop by Barnes and Nobles, Saunder over to their cafe and I treat myself with a hot chai latte. All the while I would be perusing a nice, well written book, From this I find myself satisfied. They're not that expensive and the entertainment value is far more satisfying.

E-Books looks promising but it doesn't satisfy the bibliomaniac in me. I even downloaded several versions of books to my ebook, to compare differences... the tactile feel and the heft of the book is much more satisfying.

If anything, if the electronic versions sell enough - it would justify to the publishers to do actual printing runs. This would make every book physically published into a high likelihood to be a very good read.

Ordering online is cheaper, but that would mean I have to hold off that good first chapter I read and wait a whole week to dive into the thing. It's like taking one rip off a present and waiting that long to unwrap the entire thing. It's too - teasing!

Even if Amazon provides previews, There's still the wait period.

Hopefully the industry would survive, especially if the stores provide more comfortable reading environment complete with better cafe selections. This would make it into a... commercial library. (Especially with the nook's capability of lending out books to your friends.)
 
2010-01-15 02:42:03 AM
There is of course the fact that I went into BN to buy "MAstering the art of French Cooking". It was 40$. I said fark that. Went onto amazon, 18.50$ for hardcover.

No wonder they're dying.
 
2010-01-15 02:50:22 AM
Only thing I'll pick up at B&N or other bookstores are classics. Since the authors are long since dead and don't have rights to them anymore, the prices are pretty close to what you find on the internet. Physical stores are also good for finding poetry books since you can look to see if you'd like it. The history sections are almost always hopelessly compromised by books written for and marketed toward a lower common denominator.
 
2010-01-15 02:50:43 AM
I'm so poor these days that I stopped buying books from my local independent bookstore ( Powell's ) and started using the Public Library....

If book sales are hurting in my area, it's probably due to thousands of people like me who are underemployed...( or completely out of work)
 
2010-01-15 02:51:10 AM
Is there really higher illiteracy? I am a little doubtful. Perhaps it is just more people get their reading done in other mediums. I've found I don't read novels much anymore, all the reading I do on the Internet seems to fill my need to read.
 
2010-01-15 02:54:59 AM
Young Adult fiction - Harry Potter, Twilight, The Sookie Stack House joints are killing literature.

Lets get some balls back and shelve these furry masturbatory books back to the Yif section where all of the Avatar monkeys are fellating each other.

Give me some Jazz Age expats and some grown ass books about real people. Give me some Russian crime and love tales, some French sordid sex tales and tragedy, some Carveresque tales about broken hearts and unpaid bills.

Grow the f*ck up and read some real books.

Goddammit.
 
2010-01-15 02:55:24 AM
sycraft: Is there really higher illiteracy? I am a little doubtful. Perhaps it is just more people get their reading done in other mediums. I've found I don't read novels much anymore, all the reading I do on the Internet seems to fill my need to read.

I've seen illiteracy allegedly tied to internet usage. That's all nice and alarmist and all that, but how do you use the internet if you can't read?
Also, who the fark put all these black squiggles all over my computer screen?
 
2010-01-15 02:56:55 AM
My only real beef with B&N and the like are those oversized paperbacks they sell for $14.95 instead of the usual $7.95. What the heck???
 
2010-01-15 02:57:14 AM
"The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can't."
 
2010-01-15 02:58:17 AM
Who needs book when you have FARK & the internet. Books contribute to tree death and are filled with toxic ink.
 
2010-01-15 02:59:14 AM
If you're ever in Milwaukee, stop into Downtown Books on 327 East Wisconsin Avenue, three blocks east of the Grand Avenue Mall. Two stories, shelves packed to the brim, used books far as the eye can see. $25-30 will probably get you more than your fill of reading material.

Plus a comic book section. Oh wow, there is a comic book section.
 
2010-01-15 03:03:31 AM
eyehate: Young Adult fiction - Harry Potter, Twilight, The Sookie Stack House joints are killing literature.

Lets get some balls back and shelve these furry masturbatory books back to the Yif section where all of the Avatar monkeys are fellating each other.

Give me some Jazz Age expats and some grown ass books about real people. Give me some Russian crime and love tales, some French sordid sex tales and tragedy, some Carveresque tales about broken hearts and unpaid bills.

Grow the f*ck up and read some real books.

Goddammit.


But ... the way to get kids to read those types of books you mentioned is to instill a love of reading now. In order to do that in a world full of blinking lights and beeping games you have to give them a book or a character they can love ... perhaps a sad reflection on our society, but an accurate one. Don't judge a person by the cover of their book.
Also, if you think the Sookie Stackhouse books are for young adults, holy crap ... those things are pornographic! (At least the first half of the first one is ... I put it down; not my cup of tea.)
 
2010-01-15 03:04:33 AM
Or the fact that unless you go into one of the mega-stores, all you'll find are 1,000 copies of Twilight, The Secret, and the latest Dan Brown book.
 
2010-01-15 03:05:03 AM
The move leaves the town of Laredo, TX as the nation's largest town without a bookstore.

People in Texas don't read?

Shocked.
 
2010-01-15 03:12:24 AM
We just need a re-adjustment of prices. I love books, but every time I turn the hard cover I'm disgusted by the $23.99 price tag. I would by it right there and then for $4. Then again, who'll pay the "associates" salary?
 
2010-01-15 03:13:36 AM
fark bookstores. i'm more upset about the decline of public libraries--they've turned into really sketchy places in the bigger cities. if more people went to the library instead, maybe they'd keep better standards.
 
2010-01-15 03:17:19 AM
These stores have had more than two decades to adjust to a world where everyone has internet access so they should stop their bloody whining.
 
2010-01-15 03:18:32 AM
I'm an online bookseller so I'm really getting a kick...

Small stores that specialize in certain subjects do well. Low overhead and good locations help greatly.
Two of my good friends own a store nearby and we trade invertory constantly. Many books sell well at the store level but crappy online and vice versa.

Big chain stores might be hurting? Don't know though. I never walk in those places. Frikin' Wal-Mart of books.

/Support your local bookstores, local libraries and used book online sellers.
 
2010-01-15 03:19:13 AM
i like used bookstores.
 
2010-01-15 03:21:01 AM
Weaver95: susansto-helit:
The emo vampires of Twilight could get their asses kicked by a Toreador.

now THAT is an insult!

Vampire the Masquerade
is D&D for people that own The Downward Spiral

/obscure?
 
2010-01-15 03:21:29 AM
Kierkegaard's Pseudonym: Or the fact that unless you go into one of the mega-stores, all you'll find are 1,000 copies of Twilight, The Secret, and the latest Dan Brown book.


This
 
2010-01-15 03:22:02 AM
Being able to download over 13,000 sci-fi e-books books in a single torrent is what's keeping me out.

I admit it. But I won't post the link.
 
2010-01-15 03:22:10 AM
Barbecue Bob: /Support your local bookstores, local libraries and used book online sellers

Why? Last time I was in a public library it was full of bums sleeping and kids selling drugs. Go to a B&M bookstore and they're selling books for way more than it costs at Amazon.
 
2010-01-15 03:24:32 AM
006andahalf: Only thing I'll pick up at B&N or other bookstores are classics. Since the authors are long since dead and don't have rights to them anymore, the prices are pretty close to what you find on the internet. Physical stores are also good for finding poetry books since you can look to see if you'd like it. The history sections are almost always hopelessly compromised by books written for and marketed toward a lower common denominator.

This.
Even worse is the philosophy section, which at my local Chapters (the Canadian B&N) has basically been watered down to Plato, Nietzsche, Descartes and then a bunch of Deepak Chopra and a whole whack of those "Philosophy and Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Radiohead/The Daily Show" books.
 
2010-01-15 03:24:49 AM
Kierkegaard's Pseudonym: Or the fact that unless you go into one of the mega-stores, all you'll find are 1,000 copies of Twilight, The Secret, and the latest Dan Brown book.

You mean *if* you go into a mega-store you'll only find those books.

My first job was at a small book store, and I think our tiny little store had a better selection than most B&N or Borders stores.

Here's the crux of it. Brick & mortar stores are good for browsing and for impulse buys. If they don't have it they always ask if I'd like to special order it, and I never do. It's cheaper, easier, and often nearly as fast to just order it through Amazon.

Sadly, with the inventory narrowing in these places, I'm turning more and more to online outlets like Amazon. What's even worse, is that google books lets me take a good long peek at one hell of a large catalog of books to see if I'd like it or not. Amazon is pretty good at suggesting titles I might like, and I have a large group of friends who are well read and know what I like, and we suggest and loan books all the time to each other.

I guess my point here is that a 20-30% discount off of the cover price, free shipping if I'm willing to wait a week, and the ability to browse books at any time of the day or night really appeal to me more than a brick & mortar house with 3 islands devoted to Twilight, 1/4th of the store devoted to Manga comics, and a large inventory (but pathetic selection) of perpetually over-priced DVDs & BR discs.

I don't like books that have grease marks in the pages from eleven billion people flipping through it. I don't like coffee stains on a hardcover that I want to buy because it's the last one in the store. I'm tired of the book with the nice slice down the dust jacket/cover/hardcover from where some 17 year old used his boxcutter a little too zealously that the book store expects to get full price for. I guess I'm just tired of the "large bookstore" experience. I hated it when B&N started doing it, and I hate it all these years later.
 
2010-01-15 03:26:11 AM
As much as I hate to admit it - as an English major, even - I do a lot more reading on teh Internets these days. It's a faster and cheaper source of information. Novels are still worthwhile in book form, but not much else is.

As long as Powell's stays in Portland, however, I'll be happy. The local Borders is full of trinkets and crap and Barnes & Noble isn't much better.

/nice misspelling, Subby
 
2010-01-15 03:27:40 AM
Barakku: sycraft: Is there really higher illiteracy? I am a little doubtful. Perhaps it is just more people get their reading done in other mediums. I've found I don't read novels much anymore, all the reading I do on the Internet seems to fill my need to read.

I've seen illiteracy allegedly tied to internet usage. That's all nice and alarmist and all that, but how do you use the internet if you can't read?
Also, who the fark put all these black squiggles all over my computer screen?


Ah blaym thuh Ay-rabbs.
 
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