When we moved here in ’84, Metro Books was two miles up Maple Road. There was a wonderful children’s bookstore a mile in the other direction. Then Barnes & Noble moved in across the street and decimated Metro Books. I wouldn’t go in for months afterward, so ticked I was that this behemoth had stomped on our neighborhood haunt. The children’s bookstore evaporated soon after as well.
The aforementioned branch of the invading Hun of literary purveyors closed a good 18 months ago. With the total shuttering of Borders, I realized a few weeks ago that I’m living in a book desert. If I want to buy a book the non-Amazon way, I have to schlep miles west to one B&N or more miles south to the other. I borrow the term book desert from the concept of a food desert — urban areas completely devoid of grocery stores and/or supermarkets where healthful food can be purchased.
Now granted, my plight isn’t anywhere as dire as those who live in urban areas can’t even go marketing in their own neighborhood. There are more grocery stores nearby than I could shop at in a week; even the pharmacy a quarter-mile walk from here has a mini-market offering plenty to cobble together a fast meal if need be.
But I miss having a bookstore. I miss being able to walk round and round the tables of best sellers. I miss sinking into a chair and diving into a novel. I miss ordering tea and writing a card or two to friends and family while all about me other folks are reading, or clicking their tiles in a mad game of mah jongg or tutoring the occasional student.
Maybe it’s time for a new retail concept: a place to buy both books and eats. Call it Food for Body and Soul. Or maybe Authors and Artichokes. Or maybe just Metro Books, Chapter Two.
I miss the opportunity to compare books before buying. It is a real shame that there are so few bookstores around. There aren’t even any at the mall any more.
I totally agree with you. I miss holding a book in my hand at a book store. The library just isnt the same. . . and I find that I am buying books electronically—which seemed like an anathema to me such a short time ago.
I’ll go on Amazon if there’s a book I know specifically I want. But it’s no
fun trying to “mosey” through the site to see what catches my eye.
It’s not Border’s, but if you’re driving south there is the wonderful (tiny and ‘super cozy) Book Beat on Greenfield and Lincoln in Oak Park! 🙂 !!! xo Marcia
Yes, Book Beat is a holdout success. One of the indies that endures.
Your are so right…seeing the bookstores close is so sad. I still will not do the Kindle thing either. Here, in Savannah, we are lucky to have a wonderful bookstore called Shavers. I am sure you have visited it when visiting here, Debra. It seems to be doing well, and I keep my fingers crossed that it will cobntinue. Plus, we have our wonderful Book Fair each year that just keeps growing. Kay
I so totally agree with you. In many of my favorite spots up north, there are terrific indy bookstores — Horizon in Traverse City; Forever Books in St. Joseph. I always make a point of buying at least two books from these places each time I visit. Here in Royal Oak, we do have a big B&N … and I will have to admit that I visit often, only because it’s the only one we have and it’s very convenient for me. As a friend of mine (who works in retail) says, “Online shopping is killing ALL of our 3-D stores. Not just bookstores…
Thank you Cindy for the bday wishes and for sharing your book experiences.
We are at the fulcrum of so many changes as technology transforms life as
we knew it.