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When the last #Bookshop shuts down, will you be sad?

Today I stumbled upon a Clearance sale for books, another bookshop closing down.

I bought me a few books, Damon Galgut among them, and then tried to think when I’d bought the last book. Couldn’t remember then, can’t remember now.

book sale books gone extinctAs
I browsed the bookshelves I kept thinking that 50 years from now, this
would probably be an impossible, exotic experience. Letting book covers
draw the eye, inhaling the scent of new books, running fingertips on the
spines big and small, catching a familiar author or getting snagged by
an intriguing title. 

Very soon, it won’t happen.

Music books alternative

20 years or so, we’ll only be left with niche bookstores for the nerds,
like we have Turntable stores nowadays. A whole lot of my readers have
probably never seen a turntable in their lives– but I have some
memories of good turntable music from my childhood.

All things pass, but the passing away of physical books
from our world would be particularly painful. I can’t imagine a library
without books either.

Perhaps, adults of future generations would be nostalgic
about Kindles and iPads (‘Remember those flat boxes we swiped fingers
on, no holograms, no 3-d experience?’ they’ll probably say)
When bookshops become extinct, where will you browse? The very thought of it hurts me. How about you?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Sharon Himsl says:

    Oh, I do hope book stores stick around in my lifetime, at least the used book stores. But it really is hard to say if there is an end in sight. I remember reading that people once predicted the demise of radio. Look at it now, still thriving and loved. I do enjoy the convenience of e-books, but I also have a wall of books in my home.

  • When the big bookstores such as B&N and Borders came, many of the smaller indie bookstores were forced to close. Then Borders closed all of it's stores. B&N has closed some of its local stores, but still have a pretty significant presence. I think a lot of what has happened has been due to the ease of ordering books online. Then e-readers made their appearance, and that was too much competition for many stores. We still have both B&N and quite a few indie bookstores here,I will hate it if they disappear completely, and since I couldn't imagine a bookstore, much less such a large one as Borders Books, closing, I won't say it won't happen. We live in a digital world and I think it will only become more so. I do buy a lot of books online for convenience and also to load up my Kindle, but nothing beats browsing in a physical bookstore. It will be a sad day if that happens.

  • Birgit says:

    I am one who does not believe book stores will disappear. Every time I go to a book store it is packed. The book stores that cater to a select crowd may be gone but I believe there will be book stores as so many people still love the smell of them plus there are the beautiful coffee table books, Art books, film books etc… that have wonderful photographs inside that you can't savour on a laptop or ipad. I also have a turntable and records:) My friend calls me retro gal and I wear that badge with pride

  • Andrew Leon says:

    Actually, I think we really ought to quit making physical books (except for certain special instances) along with a lot of other paper products (junk mail!) just for the sake of the trees. At this point, paper books are a luxury that our planet can't really afford.

  • dolorah says:

    I'm really hoping that doesn't happen.

  • I read there are actually more independent bookstores in the US now than there were five years ago. The need is still there. I admit, I'm not helping, as I read everything on my iPad now.
    Not only do I remember turntables, I still have a large collection of records. No eight track tapes though!

  • Giles Hash says:

    It may take longer than many people think. From what I've been seeing, ebook sales are down, and print book sales are up for the most recent year of collected data.

    The indie stores are struggling, but there are still physical locations (like B&N) where we can browse.

  • It's a sad note, that's for sure. I guess we'll rely on word of mouth more than ever and virtual shopping. Websites like Goodreads will be even more important than they are now.

  • shelly says:

    Scary thought. I'm keeping the books I have then.

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