Are We Turning the Page on Local Bookstores?

todayJuly 25, 2022 35 2

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By Camryn Cole
Web Content Contributor

Books have been around forever.

We use them for everything: learning, creating, and bettering ourselves. Novels are versatile, written by authors as different as Jane Austen and Stephen King. Books are classics, but they are also ever-changing.

However, if books are so timeless, why have so many bookstores begun to go out of business?

With the rapid rise of technology, I have noticed the downfall of many local bookstores. Our generation has grown dependent on computers and phones to obtain knowledge and works of fiction. I’m guilty of purchasing textbooks in digital formats for convenience.

Additionally, larger companies that sell books dominate local bookstores. Ironically, Amazon is the largest book retailer in the world. With worldwide shipping and a catalog of more than 33 million titles, it hasn’t been hard for them to take over the book industry.

As an avid reader, I love supporting bookstores. When I was younger, my mom would give me a book budget. She was an English teacher and encouraged me to read from a young age. It was enough money to buy one book, which I would usually sit and finish in about a day. Even in my twenties, I’m still guilty of spending my money on a really good book.

Stephen King’s “The Institute” is layered on top of another book that I purchased in a small book shop.
The newest books I purchased from my town’s local bookstore.

The family-owned bookstore in my hometown was my favorite place to go and sift through the hundreds of children’s books. Luckily, it’s still open and running, but I worry about the shop as so many others have gone out of business.

There aren’t many local bookstores in San Marcos. The Book Warehouse in the outlet mall is a small chain of stores, but still a fun place to find novels nonetheless! Every time I visit the outlet, I always make sure to stop by and check out the many publications the store offers.

Even though Half Price Books is also not local, I was so disappointed when they closed the location in San Marcos. The Half Price Books in my hometown also went out of business, making me worry for the fate of bookstores in the future.

Books will never go out of business- that’s a fact. However, the number of large retailers that sell more than books has grown. For instance, Walmart and Target sell a variety of books for all kinds of readers to enjoy. The publications they advertise are the same that are sold in all bookstores. However, they are missing one crucial thing: the atmosphere that local bookstores have to offer.

Whether local or larger chain companies, the atmosphere is one of the best parts of buying a new novel. Nothing beats roaming through the countless aisles of books. It’s fun passing section after section while deciding on the right buy. One shop I visited in West Texas had a fat orange and white cat that roamed around the store. He sat on chairs positioned throughout the aisles, taking in his surroundings. He watched customers dedicate their time to stories hidden within the pages of the many books inside. That’s not something you find in a Walmart book section and certainly not on Amazon.

Like the publications they sell, local book shops have a story behind them. I’ll do my best to purchase novels from smaller businesses, in hopes of keeping them alive for as long as possible.


Featured Image by Camryn Cole.

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