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Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:12 AM

Tampa Bay Times Bill Maxwell laments "slow death of bookstores." I'm with him on that.

I was raised in a family of readers. When we were younger our parents took us at least once a week to the library. We visited local book stores. Books were part of our lives.

Bill Maxwell is a favorite columnist, and his column made me remember a recent event.

I like hardback books. I have a lot of them, and I usually give them to the public library once or twice a year. For a change I thought I would see if a used book store would be interested since I give them away for free.

I called a couple of them, told them they were bestsellers, like new, great condition. I was told people no longer wanted hardback books anymore, and only a few more wanted paperback. They did not stock them anymore. I was shocked over that. And saddened.

Maxwell's column hit home.

Slow death of bookstores is heartbreaking

The world I love and enjoy most is shrinking.

Corporate or independent or public or whatever, I don't care. Show me a bookstore and I'll find a dozen reasons to love it and spend a few or a lot of dollars. My world is shrinking because each year, bookstores are shutting down without being replaced.

A little more than a year after Borders shuttered its 411 remaining stores, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, long the nation's largest chain, has announced it plans to close at least 20 stores a year for the next decade. The Wall Street Journal reports that since 2003, Barnes & Noble closed an average of 15 stores a year but opened about 30 a year, many on college campuses. Last year, though, it shut down 14 stores and opened no new ones.

All book lovers have a favorite store. Mine was the eclectic Borders in Fort Lauderdale, my hometown. It had one of the best, if not the best, locations of any bookstore in the country. It was on Sunrise Boulevard on the Intracoastal Waterway that flows into the Atlantic Ocean. I would make my purchase, get something to drink and find a spot beneath an umbrella on the water. I would read and watch yachts head toward the ocean. Sometimes I would take a water taxi to downtown and back.

That store is gone. It closed more than a year ago. Whenever I go to Fort Lauderdale, I drive past the building out of habit. I feel miserable each time. An old friend is dead and cannot be replaced.


I plan to keep buying hardback books as long as I can find them. Our bookstores here are limited in nature, most Christian fundamental types. Our library is different now, they don't have funds to restock as they used to do.

There is still a place for books in our world for people like me and Bill Maxwell. I think there may be many others who feel that way.

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Reply Tampa Bay Times Bill Maxwell laments "slow death of bookstores." I'm with him on that. (Original post)
madfloridian Feb 2013 OP
geomon666 Feb 2013 #1
madfloridian Feb 2013 #2
trusty elf Feb 2013 #18
TeamPooka Feb 2013 #8
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #16
RudynJack Feb 2013 #23
marions ghost Feb 2013 #68
joshcryer Feb 2013 #25
napoleon_in_rags Feb 2013 #27
joshcryer Feb 2013 #28
Viva_La_Revolution Feb 2013 #32
madfloridian Feb 2013 #58
napoleon_in_rags Feb 2013 #65
joshcryer Feb 2013 #66
napoleon_in_rags Feb 2013 #72
joshcryer Feb 2013 #74
Llewlladdwr Feb 2013 #85
napoleon_in_rags Feb 2013 #90
Recursion Feb 2013 #48
napoleon_in_rags Feb 2013 #64
Archae Feb 2013 #3
X_Digger Feb 2013 #40
Brigid Feb 2013 #67
TDale313 Feb 2013 #4
MrSlayer Feb 2013 #5
madfloridian Feb 2013 #11
octoberlib Feb 2013 #6
Leslie Valley Feb 2013 #7
madfloridian Feb 2013 #10
DonCoquixote Feb 2013 #21
DonCoquixote Feb 2013 #22
RudynJack Feb 2013 #24
DonCoquixote Feb 2013 #26
joshcryer Feb 2013 #29
X_Digger Feb 2013 #41
RudynJack Feb 2013 #47
joshcryer Feb 2013 #69
Codeine Feb 2013 #36
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #38
X_Digger Feb 2013 #42
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #62
LWolf Feb 2013 #91
madfloridian Feb 2013 #92
ret5hd Feb 2013 #55
daleanime Feb 2013 #9
dballance Feb 2013 #12
madfloridian Feb 2013 #59
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #13
backtoblue Feb 2013 #43
madfloridian Feb 2013 #54
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WCGreen Feb 2013 #15
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #17
llmart Feb 2013 #83
trublu992 Feb 2013 #19
NYC Liberal Feb 2013 #20
Laelth Feb 2013 #30
madrchsod Feb 2013 #31
MadHound Feb 2013 #33
kentauros Feb 2013 #60
intheflow Feb 2013 #34
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intheflow Feb 2013 #53
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pipoman Feb 2013 #35
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madfloridian Feb 2013 #56
MadHound Feb 2013 #50
retread Feb 2013 #37
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #39
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madfloridian Feb 2013 #71
Lurks Often Feb 2013 #46
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madfloridian Feb 2013 #89

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:22 AM

1. There will be bookstores as long as books are published.

I too read a lot and love hardbacks but I'm not lamenting the fall of Borders and Barnes & Noble.

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Response to geomon666 (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:25 AM

2. In our area that sort of leaves online ordering.

There's just not that much since B&N closed here. I order through Abe's Books and get some great deals.

I consider myself pretty open to change, but a world in which books are not wanted? That's just hard to accept.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:00 AM

18. I order through Abe Books too.

It's fun finding cool old first or early editions-often for less than the price of a new paperback.

But I also love browsing in second hand bookstores-you never know what you might come across.

I prefer bookstores that are slightly cramped and filled with books from floor to ceiling!

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Response to geomon666 (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:41 AM

8. that's like saying "I like buying and eating food but if grocery stores go away I'm cool with it."

Without bookstores the entire publishing industry is threatened.
Digital printing and Amazon.com alone cannot support the industry.

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Response to TeamPooka (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:50 AM

16. the end result is going to be a shakeout, with fewer corporations controlling more stuff.

 

something like an amazon-walmart controlling publishing in addition to lots of other stuff.

historically, this is what happens when new technology is introduced. early on there's a flurry of business activity and start-ups, which seem to replace the industries that are dying because of the new technology. but inexorably small players fail or are bought out & big corporations control more of the field.

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Response to TeamPooka (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:11 AM

23. I never understood this argument.

Amazon can sell me 100x the number of books my local bookstore can. Can you name any book your local bookstore sells that Amazon doesn't (barring locally self-published books)?

I adore bookstores. I've spent huge portions of my life in them. However, I buy more books on my Kindle than I ever bought before. The publishing industry will have to adapt.

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Response to RudynJack (Reply #23)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:48 PM

68. Why does it have to be either/or?

I read lots of stuff on a kindle, but I also like books. What is happening is that B&N has Nook, and the Indy bookstores are using ereaders like Kobo. And I actually read books on a laptop.

Readers need to be versatile, but I want to browse in a bookstore and check out the hardcopies as well.

Our Barnes & Noble has turned into a toy store I like kids but they are allowed to yell and run around there now. I had to actually do kid control for the poor customer service person who was overwhelmed not long ago. NOT a creative move B&N. (I could have given them a lot of better ideas but they didn't ask me...)

I think there will be room for electronic and paper books for quite awhile yet.

Edit to say: In sympathy with the OP, I am still mourning our Borders too. A great place to hang out--and we have so few.

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Response to TeamPooka (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:29 AM

25. Good.

Fuck the publishing industry. The reason it's so bad is authors have finally started to realize that publishers are taking far too much of their work. Especially with publishing on demand (printers that can print your book on demand as opposed to printing a run for X number) you can have the best of both worlds, without archaic publishers being a barrier to the market.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #25)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:40 AM

27. True dat, but also some benefits to the old system

I've been reading the free Nook books lately, a framework where any author can publish for free. And to be honest, there is so much crap its unbelievable. Those old publishers played a valuable role telling people they won't be published, and offering us the stuff that passes a basic crap filter. Whenever I find a readable book in the free pile I'm elated. And I'm not being a snob here, its just that when anyone can publish anything, some real garbage gets out there, and readers are left to sort through it all, a job previously left to publishers.

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Response to napoleon_in_rags (Reply #27)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:55 AM

28. Go with Good Reads or other basic reviewing services.

Yes a lot of it is crap. But the primary mover for good books has been reading groups, not publishers. Publishers have over time denied writers their ability to be heard. Jack London was denied 300 times.

The biggest shift that I see happening is that books won't be really known for their authors but rather for their editors or an author-editor combination. The publishing industry is dead though. Hopefully we'll be able to make an open source alternative to Amazon.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #28)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 07:15 AM

32. LibraryThing is a good one too

I've received over 100 free books from them over the past year (in exchange for reviews). A few sucked so bad I never finished them, most are good enough I wouldn't be mad if had paid for them. About 10 have been excellent and gone on my favorite books/authors list.

http://www.librarything.com

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Response to Viva_La_Revolution (Reply #32)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:58 PM

58. Thanks, I will check that out. Looks interesting.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #28)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:20 PM

65. Is an open source alternative to Amazon even needed?

I was checking out services like SmashWords for a friend with a cookbook she wants to do, and honestly e-publishing seems incredibly approachable now days... As evidenced by some of the stuff out there.

But thanks for the info on Good Reads, I'll check that out!

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Response to napoleon_in_rags (Reply #65)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:25 PM

66. Yeah, the publishing industry is getting 30% minimum.

This needs to change. The hosting costs are probably 1-5% of the overall costs of hosting the electronic text. So authors are still losing 25% of the potential profit that they get. I wrote about the idea in my journal. It's not just limited to the written word.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #66)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:34 PM

72. I think they're exploiting a DRM monopoly.

How do I read? I have a Kindle, and a Nook. The interfaces are set up to get books pretty much exclusively from Amazon/B&N respectively. I believe their frameworks encrypt the book in a key specific to your device, so when you buy a book you can't just go send copies of the files to friends. But the key point is, Kindle and Nook control the key devices people read on, and the encryption which protects the digital rights.

So the thing would be to have universal digital readers, each with its own built in encryption key. Then you want any site to be able to run the publishing software. You have to think of a way to do it to prevent piracy, without the advantage of a singular central server like Amazon has, but it could be done. Maybe its all about a universal accessible DRM system.

I think your journal post is basically right: But I would add a component: Aggregaters. Like what the Huffpo does for news, but for media. So you have content providers producing books/media, and aggregaters presenting people with interfaces to it, arranged by social groups and whatnot. (Huffpo mostly serves liberals)

This last thing is important, not just because of the sea of content that needs to be sorted out. I read a book by a record company guy, who proposed a psychosocial framework for pop music, based on the concept of cultural capital. He says youth listen to music other youth are listening to often out not out of personal preference, but because it gives them social capital within a group: relevance and the sense of identity, something to talk about and exchange information on. Its really a simple idea, but its important. For instance if we bumped into each other at a bar, we'd find we have mutual cultural capital on liberal news so we share enough of a world view to talk, and perhaps exchange other pieces of information from that sphere others hadn't heard. On the other hand with somebody who only reads conservative news would be in a different world, and we couldn't exchange currency with him.

So the importance of aggregaters, (This is why Huffpo sold for such a staggering amount) is that they define the shared cultural capital for groups of people. In the case of music, they define what music and media are being talked about at the office, what you need to have seen and heard for social relevancy within a certain group. That's very, very important.

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Response to napoleon_in_rags (Reply #72)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:57 PM

74. Good stuff, and I agree.

But piracy prevention isn't that big of a concern. iTunes made $12 billion in 2012. Not including app developers. They got rid of the DRM a long time ago. The realized that if they had a good storefront (which is debatable when it comes to iTunes software, but bear with me), and they had the monopoly, they didn't have much to worry about.

I do think that you can use bitcoin style identity to assure that people aren't pirating your stuff though, but I think it's more of a cludge than anything. But surely, you'd want some open source hardware with an open standard so that we're all on the same playing field. Amazon's main draw is that it's dominated the sphere for so long (by being first) but if they had a serious competitor you could bet that they'd ramp up the restrictions (one thing that comes to mind is Amazon Prime and how they make authors exclude themselves from other self-publish houses like Smashwords, Google Books, or B&N, for an exclusionary time period).

Your point about aggregators is very good.

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Response to napoleon_in_rags (Reply #72)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:12 PM

85. With a little work you can load the appropriate reader on either platform.

A Google search will show you some of the ways this can be accomplished.

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Response to Llewlladdwr (Reply #85)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 03:23 AM

90. That bit of work can be pretty significant.

I heard that the music/film anti-piracy efforts no longer try to block people from getting the content, they just assure that pirated content takes a certain amount of time to successfully get. That's enough to dissuade all but the poorest with lots of time (who can't buy anyway).

So with the current devices they keep the experience engineered to buy from the stores, really easily. I mean they put effort into it: My nook is Android based, which by default should be able to run android apps, but the only way I know of to get apps for it is through the B&N store, so I don't know how to get normal android apps onto it. We're talking about reducing functionality.

Here's the first search result for running 'kindle reader on nook', it shows the status quo pretty clearly:

http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2011/11/16/nook-tablet-now-runs-kindle-aldiko-more-no-hack-required/#.URyey9tQDgw

Earlier today I was griping about how Amazon had quietly made it difficult to install competing reading apps; today I get to dance for joy because Iíve learned how to install third party apps on the Nook Tablet.

A reader tipped me to the secret (Thanks, Geert). Thereís a thread over on the XDA-Forums where someone discovered a loophole in the Nook Tablet firmware.

Update: This trick is dependent on a loophole which B&N closed some time back. These instructions no longer work.

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Response to napoleon_in_rags (Reply #27)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 11:44 AM

48. I'm one of those crappy self-published authors

I selfishly like this, even though it means you as a reader have to do your own A&R (and I'm not being snarky; I do realize that's a pain).

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Response to Recursion (Reply #48)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:17 PM

64. I dunno, Recursion. Your posts are pretty well-spoken and lucid.

I'm talking about stuff where crazy uncle Jimbo wrote an ebook about the voices without using a spell-checker, seriously - that's out there now.

Honestly though, I did a little creative writing in college too... And I kind of enjoy reading the bad stuff too, because it gives me a much better idea of what really makes the good stuff.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:29 AM

3. Whatever happened to scrolls?

Them newfangled "books" put them out of business!

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Response to Archae (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:48 AM

40. And buggy whips! ;) n/t

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Response to Archae (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:30 PM

67. I prefer the chiseled stone tablets myself.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:31 AM

4. It's very sad to see.

Barnes & Noble just closed a few stores in our area, including one near my work. I used to go in at least once a week, love browsing. Part of why I went with the nook rather than the Kindle is that b&n still at this point has brick and mortar stores. And while I do like e-books, I also have a real love for real paper books as well. Guess I'm old fashioned that way.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:32 AM

5. I still get hardback books but I buy them online.

 

Which is really why the bookstore is going away. I hate that I'm doing this but I like year ahead pre-orders that lead to day of release deliveries. It's particularly good when it comes as surprise because you forgot about the order.

This sort of thing makes me feel slimy but I can't seem to not do it.

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Response to MrSlayer (Reply #5)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:55 AM

11. No choice in our area. Religious books rule the market here.

There is no other choice but order online and the library.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:33 AM

6. I'm a bookworm. Me too. nt

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:35 AM

7. The medium is the message

 

so said Marshall McLuhan. And the medium is the printed word whether on paper or in digital format as far as I'm concerned.

I have totally converted to the E-Book format. I currently have well over 4 thousand books in my library that I carry on an electronic device.

I guess I'm more concerned about content than with the presentation.

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Response to Leslie Valley (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:53 AM

10. Not to me. A book is a book. An e-book is not the same.

It feels like an almost forced exiting of books so kindles and other readers can flourish.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #10)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:04 AM

21. I want both ebooks and hard books

I use a Nook because i know it is backed by barnes and Noble, which means I can go into the store, have a human being fix things, and use the ebook to preview books (The Nook lets you read all books when you are in their cafe, which of course is a clever way to get you to buy coffee and cake, but so what, better there than Starbucks.)

I love hardcover books, I like the fact they are physical objects you own. Ob the other hand, I like the fact that you own Barnes and Nobles ebooks, as opposed to the kindle, which lets you access titles, but never lets you OWN them. I love the feel of books, especially the leather backed, gold trimmed copies that Barnes and Nobles sells (and that Borders never did.) On the other, the Nook is easier on the eyes, letting me magnify text so that my older eyes can see. The nook also allows things like Project Gutenberg, a huge database of free books that are either to old to patent (Plato does not need my money to pay his rent right now) or published by new authors that are using it for free press. Of course, I often buy the books from Barnes and Noble anyway, namely because they designed their ebooks to look and feel like regular ones, taking into account things like fonts and background color. I want my yellow paper and antique fonts dammit, and I get it. I admit, I also defend ebooks because, while I am a book lover (and a former librarian to boot) I will admit that without the Nook, my house would look like an episode of "Hoarders" with all the books I have. On the other hand, I have told my family members that they will have to pry my hardback books from my cold, dead hands, doing my best Charlton Preston voice when I do so.

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #21)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:09 AM

22. One note about Borders

As much as I mourned their passing, they were very slow on the customer service side, in all forms. I never expected people to know all the books that were there, but if a stuffy librarian like me knew what the hell Oprah Winfrey was getting everybody to read that week, a bookseller should. They also tried to become more of a record/movie store, and movie rental sank when folks like netflix made it cheaper to just use the mail. The only thing,oddly enough, they were better than B and N for, was their cafe,and even then,at the end, they tried to redo all their cafes to have "Seattle's best" coffee" hiding the tea I used to enjoy.

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #21)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:16 AM

24. You're mistaken

"owning" a B&N book is no different than owning an Amazon book.

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Response to RudynJack (Reply #24)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:38 AM

26. That's funny

Because B and N books actually download, as opposed to being on some "cloud." It's also funny because when i want to read them on my big PC monitor, I can see the files.

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #26)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:56 AM

29. A lot of independent publishers don't use DRM on Kindle.

But sadly a large number of them insist on it.

Once jailbroken though (and there are ways to do it) you don't have to worry about that nature of Kindle DRM'd books.

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #26)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:51 AM

41. They're downloaded to the kindle, as well. n/t

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #26)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 11:38 AM

47. Just like the Kindle.

Files are downloaded. You can read them on your kindle, on a PC, on your phone or tablet.

I don't know where you got the idea that Nook and Kindle books are somehow different. They aren't. They have different DRM, but that's about it.

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Response to RudynJack (Reply #47)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:16 PM

69. I got a textbook on Kindle (for PC) and it required an internet connection to view.

I couldn't "decrypt the file" without an internet connection. It was quite frustrating. I don't know if it's different on the actual Kindle though, but for PC it really gave me a hard time.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #10)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:01 AM

36. I was VERY skeptical about e-readers at first.

I grew up devouring books from a very young age, and my home and garage are filled with an absolutely ridiculous number of books in various states of storage; shelved, boxed, stacked, and scattered higgledy-piggeldy across the endtables. I felt the tactile experience of a book was something irreplaceable, something that could not be outdone by a digital device and yet another mini-USB charger.

But I was quite wrong.

My Kindle has become one of my most prized and well-used possessions. I read more books than ever now, and because I buy almost everything from one of Amazon's Daily Kindle Deals my books are far cheaper than before. I even get several of my magazines in Kindle format now, for less money and with automatic delivery. Public domain (i.e., older) works are a big part of what I read as well, and those are free for the downloading.

I can read my Kindle comfortably in bed and when I pass out it's still on the same page when I wake up. I find the e-ink is as comfotable on my eyes as any print book, and a twitch of my thumb turns the page; it's just plain fantastic.

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Response to Codeine (Reply #36)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:18 AM

38. Replace Kindle with Nook, and I could ahve written this



I have also finally went through my books and gotten rid of about 60% of them.

I get both print and e books from the library.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #38)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:55 AM

42. We've also pared down our physical inventory of books.

We do much less re-reading of old titles because we can't afford another trip to the used book store. We're voracious readers and both me and the wife would go through 10-15 paperbacks a week together.

The previous time we moved, we had 45'ish book boxes. This last time? 20'ish.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #42)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:59 PM

62. Me too!

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #10)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 08:34 AM

91. I've been watching the transition with ambivalence.

Last edited Fri Feb 15, 2013, 08:19 AM - Edit history (2)

As a life-long bibliophile, I'm attached to my books. So attached, that when I moved 1200 miles away to a new state 8 years ago, I left almost everything behind but the books. It took a big truck to move the books, and a lot of money. I've got thousands.

When I bought the new house, the realtor kept showing me "open concepts" that he thought would please me, since that's the way home design has evolved. I kept looking around and saying, "there aren't enough walls for my book shelves." I chose my home for location, room for horses, and room for book shelves. I've got 69 feet of shelving in the room I'm typing in now, and, since I have an eat-in kitchen, I filled the dining room with another 90 feet of shelving. I've got another 1500 books at work, and I still have books in storage.

Somewhere along the line, I decided that I'd like to convert some, but not all, of my collection to digital, just so it wouldn't take up as much space. I investigated, and wasn't really happy with the options. I'd like digital copies that can be read on any reader, and stored anywhere. That wouldn't need to be "updated" when technology changes, like an old beta or vhs or dvd. I noticed that, despite not needing any paper, ink, binding, printing, or shipping, digital copies cost almost as much as hard copies; at least, too many in my library do. I already own them; I'm not going to pay THAT much for them again. That money could go toward new books.

While I was waffling, my oldest son got a kindle for his college text books. Now THAT is a good use of the technology. I'd love it if we could provide readers and digital versions of all the textbooks we issue and collect at school every year. Especially if the reader was some kind of tablet that had multiple uses.

I was looking at the Nook; I like B & N better than Amazon. My son gave me a kindle for my bday last year. I've used it some.

I prefer holding a book to a digital reader. I prefer turning pages to touching screens, which often jump ahead and leave me scrambling to find my place. I don't like the options on my kindle for organizing a large library. I'm not going to convert my hard copies to read on this kindle. It IS a great thing to have on vacations. I don't go very far since the economy crashed, but when I have a chance to get away, I usually take a whole bag of books along. Being able to take just the kindle and have access to anything I want to read while on the road or lounging where ever I land is great.

I've seen the devaluing of actual books, and it pains me. My mom used to have a used book store. When she moved, she didn't sell the store; she took the books with her, despite my warnings. Those books have filled her garage and the living room of her house, which is unusable as an actual room, being crammed with shelves and books so that you can barely fit down all the aisles, for more than a decade. She's slow. She doesn't do anything in a hurry. We kept urging her to sell them online; she didn't like the prices she would get. She thought they were worth more. She got other book store owners in to make offers; she was shocked at how little they were willing to pay. Finally, just last year, she started GIVING them away to charities and prisons because NOBODY will take them anymore. Even the charities wouldn't take them all, and she's still trying to unload them so she can get her living space back.

I don't think we can stop the digital revolution. I just hope that, in the coming decades, libraries continue to keep hard copies. By the time they've become as rare as an old victrola, I'll be gone.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #91)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 05:34 PM

92. Thanks for that post. You are definitely a fellow book lover.

I enjoyed reading that. I guess the demise of hardcover books is happening way too rapidly for me. Way too fast.

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Response to Leslie Valley (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:42 PM

55. Just some round number figuring here...

Let's say you read a book every 3 days. THat's 120 books a year. Your 4000 books are over 33 years worth of reading material.

What's the warranty on your e-reader again?

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:42 AM

9. I remember when every town had a bookstore .....

now its a 35-40 minute to the nearest chain store and almost an hour to get up to Ithaca's great used stores.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:00 AM

12. I Was Raised in a Family of Readers Too. Still Love Having a Real Book to Read From

I have Kindle software on my tablet but I still can't get used to reading that way. I just still love having the physical book and pages to turn. Guess I'm old-fashioned.

Yes, the library was always a great trip. Talking to the librarian about new books out or once they got to know you and your reading habits they would recommend books they thought you'd like. Gee, we used have personal interaction rather than stars and some automated-intelligence on a website.

We are very lucky here in Portland, OR. We have Powell's Books. It's a great place to go spend time looking for a book. They also have a small art gallery at the main downtown store.

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Response to dballance (Reply #12)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:01 PM

59. Saturday was library day growing up. We checked out as many as we could.

Especially during the summer months.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:31 AM

13. I feel the same. and i also feel uneasy because once most information is digital, it

 

can be changed with a keystroke.

the end of history indeed.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #13)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 10:00 AM

43. agree

You take away tangible evidence of historic events and replace it with a hackable database, history can be changed...and changed again over and over to suit whomever does it.

Same with not teaching cursive writing in elementary school anymore. Sad day when our very own Constitution cannot be read by the average American.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #13)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:27 PM

54. Yes, I share that uneasiness. Digital info can be changed too easily.

When Florida was trying to turn the state library over to private hands, we had that fear. Also which books would be available, whose decision would it be.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:40 AM

14. I hear you

I monitor multiple consoles all night long - when I crawl into bed in the morning it is with a real book

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:45 AM

15. When I was a kid back in the late 60's...

There was this three story used and new bookstore called Kay Book store. It was next to the best Army/Navy store on one side and a dirty book store on the other. I use to take Cleveland's version of the Subway, the Rapid Transit. For on dime I could get on about ten blocks from my house and get off at the Terminal Tower and walk up and out onto downtown Cleveland....

I remember it in black and white and I guess that was because the sandstone buildings had absorbed so much of the pollution from the Industrial Flats just west and south of downtown.

Still, there was the giant pretzels, the smell of roasting nuts that you could buy fresh by the ounce, and the half milkshake half ice cream cone that Higbees had just around from the corner of the terminal that abutted to the basement of the department store.

But the real treat was Kay Books. I always went to the top floor first to look over the huge pile of Comic Books that the deliver guys brought back from the drug stores and malt shops and five and dime stores that sold comic books.

There was always a few that I had missed and on a rare occasion, I would find a mint book from a year or two before that had been over looked.

The main floor was crammed with books of all kinds but it was the basement that all the old stuff was that I checked out only a few times. There were all these wonderful books from the late 1800's filled with obsolete text books that talked about science that was set aside.

When they shut the book store up in 1983, I went over one last time, this time I was in College. Downtown was on it's last legs, everything of worth was in the suburbs by now although there was nothing like Kays anywhere that I knew of. I bought a few books, looked around and left that part of my life behind.

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #15)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:00 AM

17. small low-end businesses in general are dying. which means that that old low-end individuality

 

is dying. when i was a kid there were lots of independent bookstores, & each one had its own character. the same for restaurants. now there are no bookstores at all in my town, just a few racks at places like target, just the best-seller crap. otoh, you can find almost anything online, but i don't like to shop online, and i resent that a big corporation is taking a cut out of anything i buy online.

this is what bothers me about the whole online thing; giant corporations control it, which means they're controlling markets that were once mostly closed to them, i.e. the secondhand market. it means they're controlling even more of the economy, reaching further and further down to the grassroots, and removing more 'means of production' from the hands of ordinary people.

life seems increasingly gray because so much more of it has that corporate, mass-produced feudal stamp on it.

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #15)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 07:52 PM

83. Thanks for the nostalgia....

As an ex-Clevelander who also grew up in the 50's/60's it was fun reading your post, though I don't remember Kay Books. We lived in the suburbs and the only time we went downtown was at Christmas to see the Sterling Linder tree.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:03 AM

19. I'm conflicted on one hand I can grab my nook and my ADHD brain doesn't have to remember or forgot

on the other hand I love to spend a Saturday sifting thru a book store stacking my piles and overpaying for some latte

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:28 AM

20. I'm a big "tech" person, but e-books have not won me over.

A book is about much more than just the words on the page. It's the feel, the smell, the pleasure of physically turning the page to find out what happens next in a book you can't put down. I love sitting in bed with a pile of books surrounding me. I love having shelves of books, perusing them, picking them out and flipping through to see what I feel like reading next. There are few things better than an old book with a hand-inscribed message in front, or one full of dog-eared pages and little notes scribbled in the margins.

Maybe physical books are a little more inconvenient. And sure there are benefits to e-books. But for me, personally, everything I just mentioned is more important.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 06:07 AM

30. k&r for the codex, and for the local merchants who sell them. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 06:58 AM

31. i have semi rare books that are over 100 yrs old...

will these devices last a hundred years?

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 07:27 AM

33. We're going to lose a lot with the digitalization of books,

 

Just as we did with music in the switch from album to CD, and now MP3.

There are simply large numbers of albums that were not digitalized, even after thirty years. Sure, most of them are older and a bit obscure, but that doesn't mean that they weren't good albums. But now, except for finding the vinyl in flea markets, they're gone.

The same is going to happen with books, reams and reams of them simply won't be transferred over to electronic form, and thus will be lost to posterity. For awhile, you might seem some of them pop up in used books stores, or flea markets, or library sales, but after awhile, they'll simply be gone, another piece of our culture lost.

This is also going to play hell with future historians. How will they be able to tell what we're reading four, five hundred years from now. CD's degrade, e-readers die, thus, there will be a large gap in our history, a black hole where there was no visible literature going on(of course given the rate at we're giving up reading, that may not be so far from the truth.

Finally, there is the issue of privacy. I can walk into a book store, pick up the most inflammatory, anti-American book, pay for it with cash, and nobody knows any better whether I've got it. You can't do that with ebooks. Everything you read is going to be added to your datamined file, duly passed on to the US security apparatus, and nothing that you read will be in private.

I've never given up my books. I have shelves and shelves, boxes and boxes. I think that I will find somebody, some young person who I think would appreciate them, and pass them on when I've died. Perhaps they will learn a few things that won't be available on an ereader.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #33)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:42 PM

60. Maybe the "music industry" isn't republishing old music,

but they didn't do that even when CDs were the norm! So, now that inexpensive home equipment exists for people to rip these out of print albums, well, they're not just sitting on their thumbs: http://music-favourites.blogspot.com/

And some publishers are making their entire catalogs available for ebook formats. Just because the Big Six aren't doesn't mean the rest of them aren't, either.

For example, Baen Books. And then there's Project Gutenberg (which has been around online since the early days of the w-w-w.) Plus, the Internet Archive. Both of the latter sites accept scanned or ebook formated files of books to their archives.

As far as security goes, I know I've read of the FBI being successful in subpoenaing libraries for their checkout records. Anyone intent on surveillance of you won't have much trouble paying attention to what books you're picking up at the library or bookstore if they have reason to believe you're intent on something nefarious.

Oh, the latest technological development in memory storage is on optical crystals and promises storage periods measured in centuries.

By the way, how many books have been lost over the centuries because they went out of print, weren't kept in optimum storage conditions, or just weren't popular any longer? How many manuscripts went unpublished because a handful of publishing houses didn't see any merit in them? How many publishers did J.K. Rowling go through before one of them accepted her work? (I've read it was at least eight.) How much of all the media we humans have ever produced has been lost to time, and not because it wasn't digitized?

Any "fears" of us losing a lot to digitized books are just that, fears.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 07:46 AM

34. I don't believe print is dead.

The Wall Street Journal agrees with me: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323874204578219563353697002.html?fb_action_ids=10151236848743303&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

Large bookstore closings may give new life to independent booksellers: http://www.policymic.com/articles/25026/as-barnes-noble-closes-stores-independent-bookstores-may-be-the-ones-to-pick-up-the-slack

And I like a quote I read on fb the other day, attributed to Stephen King. Paraphrased, it said that printed books were threatened by e-media the same way stairs became obsolete with the invention of elevators. I couldn't agree more.

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Response to intheflow (Reply #34)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:10 PM

52. Elevators are way cool though.

n

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Response to Skink (Reply #52)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:12 PM

53. Unless you lose power.

Then they suck big time.

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Response to intheflow (Reply #53)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:44 PM

61. Everything sucks when you lose power!

And, unless you bought candles, you won't be reading at night

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 07:53 AM

35. The vast, vast majority of books are read once, maybe

twice, then relegated to a shelf, closet or bag never to bee looked at again...seems a waste of resources and an expansion of clutter. Don't get me wrong, I like old books and have many, just imagining how much paper and ink is saved by use of e-books..

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Response to pipoman (Reply #35)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 11:51 AM

49. That's the other side of this...

the paper and ink.

I have about ten or so books that I've read many times over and over again. A couple of them I've actually had to replace with a duplicate copy because they fell apart.

I'd love to have them in electronic form, but the publishers haven't gotten around to doing that yet

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Response to pipi_k (Reply #49)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:48 PM

56. AND the publishers may never get around to those books, or unknown millions of others.

Many print books will be lost that way.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #35)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 11:55 AM

50. The thing is, paper and ink(at least soy based ink) are renewable resources,

 

The resources that go into an ereader aren't. Rare earths, heavy metals, plastic, all materials that are non-renewable, and in many cases an environmental hazard.

Now if we look at other electronic gadgets, we will get a good idea of how ereaders are going to be treated. Consumers purchase a new cell phone approximately every eighteen months, a new computer every three years. Not because their old electronics died, but because they had to have the latest and greatest. That trend is going to continue with ereaders.

Furthermore, the recycle rate of these electronics is atrocious, approximately eight percent of devices are recycled. The rest are left rotting in our landfills, leaching toxic chemicals into our environment.

Now what about books? Their environmental impact is minimal. The amount of energy used, and pollution generated per book is much less than an ereader. Furthermore, as I said above, virtually everything that goes into a book is renewable. Recycling books is a much higher percentage than ereaders, mainly because people already recycle paper and such. Finally, even if a book is tossed into the trash, it breaks down into wood pulp and soy oil, certainly not biohazards.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:11 AM

37. I love ereaders. Support your local Public Library! You can physically borrow dead tree books or

borrow digital books online and its FREE to all residents.

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Response to retread (Reply #37)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:22 AM

39. +1

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 10:08 AM

44. Books and Music stores

digital age has killed these centers of exchange. Furthermore, when I pay for something I want tangible objects, as someone who collects books and music. A download of a latest album or book does not equate to collecting. IMO

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Response to Puzzledtraveller (Reply #44)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:53 PM

57. I never really like the book or record store clerk

Maybe it is because I'm an asshole but I don't care what the clerk thought about my tastes in music or books. The clerk tended to be an overeducated type who would offer their two cents about my choices or tastes. Shut up, give me my change.

There is a reason the "High Fidelity" was funny. Or The COmic Book Guy.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 10:16 AM

45. I am a...

book lover from way back too.

The feel of them. The smell.

Everything.

I didn't think I would ever find myself owning an e-reader, but I do.

There's something to be said for being able to have access to over 900 books at the touch of a finger. All on this one little device I can take anywhere.

And so many of them are less than a buck, or completely free, and I don't have to worry about getting them back to the library in time.

Not all books come in electronic form, however, so I do sometimes order hardcopy books, and I do still have quite a few of them around the house.

Torn between technology/convenience and tradition/sensory attraction.

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Response to pipi_k (Reply #45)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:26 PM

71. The shock of being told by a used book seller that they did not want hardback books...

I am not over it yet.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 11:22 AM

46. Still a place for paper books, but new bookstores will continue to dwindle

The simple reason it is easier and cheaper to get a book online. B&N lost me as a customer about a year or so ago when I went to buy a brand new hard cover by a favorite author. It cost me $30 including the sales tax. I could have gotten the same book on Amazon for $16.

I understand a retail storefront has overhead, but a $14 mark up is a bit much. When I can get a new book and maybe 1 or 2 used books online for the same price as the new book at B&N, I'm going to shop online. I will continue to shop online when sales tax is charged. It is still more convenient and cheaper then paying retail and the gas to go to the book store.

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Response to Lurks Often (Reply #46)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:02 PM

63. B&N online prices are often the same as Amazon

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Response to Lurks Often (Reply #46)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:19 PM

70. I think they'll become a niche like record stores.

They won't go away completely, but people will always want print, just like people have a desire to have vinyl. Of course, the move from vinyl to cassette to CDs to mp3s didn't have as big of a push back against technological innovation. It's mainly big publishing houses who see that their business model is no longer viable who is pushing back the hardest. Authors are all for self-publishing.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:05 PM

51. + 1000

I was thinking about this just the other day. I LOVE to read.
Anything and everything. But I'll be damned if I am going to
hunker down in bed and read a little computer screen. I have to admit, I'm a contrarion, and somewhat anti-tech but the tactile
feeling of holding a hardcover book is something that I'm not ever going to give up. Is there anything cooler than rummaging through an old musty bookstore on a rainy day? It's like treasure
hunting. I'm glad to meet a kindred spirit. Read on !!

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:57 PM

73. i Loved Bookstar and Crown Books

i liked bookstar a lot. there is still a location in studio city which keeps the bookstar sign and interior last time i went was kind of similar but it was actually bought by barnes and noble. what i liked about bookstar was it kind of felt like some old library.

crown books always seemed to have the best prices.

i'm also sad to see the bookstores go away. when i was young at malls or anywhere i would spend so much time in the bookstores. you also get an experience you can't by ordering online. don't peoe enjoy looking through books they might never have heard of ?

i don't have an ereader yet but plan to get one. but i still can't see myself giving up paper books.

i actually have seen more used and indie type book stores opening up in the last months/year or so . hopefully they will last. maybe a new trend back to smaller indie book stores.

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Response to JI7 (Reply #73)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 06:08 PM

75. "maybe a new trend back to smaller indie book stores" That would be good.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 06:29 PM

76. Similarly, I used to love "record stores" like Tower Record and specialty shops.

I'd visit at least weekly to see new releases, browse the large magazine section, etc. Looked for cool stores when I traveled.

No more. It's almost all on-line now, downloads or CDs. Have kind of lost interest unless something stunning is released. Good thing is that I play my own instruments more.

I guess you really can't impede technology, but. . . . . . . Damn.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #76)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 07:25 PM

81. I know what you mean.

I do have a funny story inre that though. I was looking for a copy of Joni Mitchell's "Shadow and Light" CD (which is now out of print), and a couple of Chilean Victor Jara CDs ( which are just released, as his widow has just recently been able to reassemble all his music destroyed by Pinochet's thugs). Of course these aren't available at your local store. So I searched on Amazon...found a single record store in Indiana had the Victor Jara CDs, and a single record store in Argentina that had the Joni Mitchell CD. Go figure...
Prices were good and shipping reasonable.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #76)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:33 PM

86. Yes! I'd browse the vinyl bins 'til my fingers were gray from dust.

I'd spend easy hours there, going through every section, from rock to classical...

Gone forever now.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 06:38 PM

77. Here's one reason I'm sticking to paper books instead of switching to digital:

I would find it extremely annoying to be engrossed in an exciting scene only to have the battery die on me.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 06:54 PM

78. Bill Maxwell is a gem.

I don't think bookstores will completely die out however. I have found out of print books at bookstores using Amazon...they aren't all bad.

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Response to HooptieWagon (Reply #78)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 07:03 PM

79. Abe Books is great for that kind of thing.

Bookstores around the country ship books, some very cheap just postage, some very expensive. Their emails tell of different collections that are available.

It's really just about all I have except the library. Our bookstores are close to non-existent except for religious ones.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #79)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 07:15 PM

80. Thanks, I'll check them out.

There is an epic locally-owned bookstore near my house - Haslem's Books, in St Pete. They have a huge selection of new and used books. But I like finding old books on sailing, and their selection there is mostly popular titles, not the old out of print books.
I think they also are wingnuts...their political section is loaded with crap by Glen Beck and Ann Coulter, etc...but very little by liberal or progressive authors.

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Response to HooptieWagon (Reply #80)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:00 PM

84. So much of that in Central Florida.

I had to call two people to do stuff at our house this week. I got a sermon from one on the phone, and when the other left he said he felt blessed to be able to do a good job. I used to let it upset me, but I just have to ignore it.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 07:34 PM

82. I only buy hardcopies of books

And I really only like paperback.
I just like holding a book, the feel of the paper, the smell.


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Response to bigwillq (Reply #82)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:37 PM

87. Precisely. The content is the main course, but as objects, books achieve perfection.

As you say, the heft of the book, the smell and feel of the paper...perfect.

I'm a hardbound junkie myself.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:44 PM

88. You mean 'cause of e-readers or people not reading any more?

We have the chain Half Price Bookstores here, which I think is doing fine. The Strand in New York is doing okay. You can order from both online, or go to the mortar stores.

Like you, I have a lot of hard copy books. Unlike you, I don't give them away, although I did some a few years ago to Half Price Bookstore.

I love hard copy books, as do some of my friends, although we have Kindles, too. I love that I still have that biography I bought decades ago about Winston Churchill. It didn't evaporate in a cloud. It's still there. As are my other biographies - Shirley Maclaine, Katharine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Sophia Loren, etc. I refer to those old books occasionally.

Once I opened an old book of a collection of Shakespeare stories. I got it from my mother or brother, but didn't recall where it came from originally. There, on the inside of the cover, was my mother's signature with her full name and date. It had been my mother's book in elementary school in the 1940s. You won't get THAT on Kindle.

One of my Bibles....it zips and had belonged to my grandmother in the early 20th Century.

My books...I write in the them, underline in them. I keep the good ones. I really should throw out the ones I know I'll never look at again. Time to go to Half Price Bookstore again, I think, and recycle.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #88)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:50 PM

89. I still have most of my college literature textbooks. I keep the older stuff...

recycle the newer stuff I read. Or at least I did until I found no one wants to bother to make room for hardcover books because they say no one reads them anymore.

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