One of my all-time favorite things to do is so simple. Sometimes all it takes to make me a happy camper is a quick trip to the bookstore. I'll browse, grab a cup of coffee, and always end up feeling a little bit better about the world.
But of late, that feeling is changing. I went to my neighborhood Barnes and Noble tonight seeking a little rest, relaxation, and inspiration. But I can't deny I didn't feel overly rested or relaxed.
I just can't shake this feeling that the bookstore is dying. Every time I walk into a Barnes & Noble, there are fewer and fewer books - more games, more random accessories, more electronic doo-dads. And hands down, the worst of it all, more empty space. It puts a pit into my stomach.
I realize the naivete that went into my thought process when Borders went under. I actually thought something along the lines of "oh good, Barnes & Noble should get a boost." And sure, they probably got a few new customers as a result of the closeout of my former employer. I suppose I was hoping the death of a huge conglomeration of booksellers was an anomaly.
I'm having a difficult time coming to terms with the truth.
I'm just not convinced everything is better in electronic form. I am actively against eReaders of all kinds. I realize that that statement may well make me as antiquated as the very thing I'm trying not to let go of, but I can't help it. Some things are just better in real life. Music and dating come to mind... but books are right in there. I am absolutely unconvinced that the digitalization of the world is a positive thing.
In my classroom, I am a paper and pencil kind of girl. I dislike power point presentations and fail to see the need for a Smart Board. Give me chalk and a chalkboard, a dose of creativity - we. are. good. to. go. In the rest of my life, I cook from scratch as much as I can. I make handmade cards. I write letters - by hand. All of which play directly into my preference for real books.
They're personal. They're tactile. They incorporate all of the senses. And perhaps most of all, they create and help to sustain human interaction. Shopping at a bookstore, just as perusing through a record store was before the ipod, is a social experience. There's a possibility for give and take and sharing with others that a digital experience simply cannot duplicate.
While I cannot deny the digital age has made my life more convenient, and certainly more travel friendly, I'm just not ready to give up the real thing. Not yet.