Adios, Barnes and Noble

I’ve been reading ever since I was a little kid.  It feels almost as natural as eating.  A while back, while riding the subway, a little girl saw me reading something funny and laughing.

“He’s reading, and he’s laughing,” the little girl remarked to her mother.  Her mother shushed her, as if it were a remark not to be made in polite company.

I guess that for the people in the girl’s life, reading was a difficult chore, and not something to laugh about.

And for much of my life, I would go to a Barnes and Noble bookstore to pick up something to read.  In the 1990s, I would often spend a lazy Saturday at Tower Records followed by Barnes and Noble.  I would pick up something on computers, on how to meet women (not that the advice in those books ever worked), or a remaindered war novel.

There is a Barnes and Noble two blocks from my office.  I was last there two years ago, on a weekday.  I felt guilty for browsing when I should have been back at my desk, working.  On the main floor was a display of the Nook e-book reader that they were selling.

Shooting themselves in the foot, I thought.  An essential part of the joy of books is holding them in your hand, sampling, selecting.

And then I bought my tablet.  It doesn’t feel the same as a book, but it’s close enough.  The words go down good.  But the browsing experience is not the same.  I choose my books now by recommendations or comments that I read in the newspaper or a blog.

This morning, I got an e-mail from Barnes and Noble, offering me 20% off one item.  Alas, I will not take them up on it, although I’d love to.

I simply do not have the time.

One thought on “Adios, Barnes and Noble”

  1. I have been hearing they are going out of business which saddens me. I had gotten a gift certificate on my birthday last year and figured I should use it now. Glad I did. I always enjoyed going to the Barnes not too far from me and buying books. Unfortunately once I lost my job and unemployment that was the end of that so I starting getting more books from the library. My library has an ongoing book sale so I’m always looking for books. The problem with Barnes though was their in store prices were considerably higher than online. Last Christmas my parents bought me the Little House box set and it was double the price it was online and I was going to take it back to get the online price but they wouldn’t allow me to do so.

    Sadly, there have been many stores leaving the bricks and mortar world. I worked at Borders many years ago and liked it but of course they no longer exist. In fact every retail chain I ever worked at is now defunct. When Tower was going out late 2006 there was one down the street from my employer so I spent my lunch hour buying CDs, books, and DVDs there. I got some good deals. Years ago there was a small record store (small as in not a chain)was near me and I shopped there often.

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