It is sad to think of yet another book store going under, but it is equally nice to think that a market is re-opening for an independent bookstore. Almost everything is sold through some form of a “big box store” now a days. The one of a kind stores that share a personality with their owners seem virtually gone and hard to find.
Don’t get me wrong, I love going into a Borders or Barnes & Noble store just to walk around for hours, perusing the books until I find just the one I can’t leave without. Still, the lack of individuality these stores have compared to the very few privately owned stores I’m able to venture in, is staggering. After a while, some of the employees at the big stores do get to recognize you and offer a little bit of personalized service if you’re consistently nice to them, but the stores themselves are sterile and too identical. They often remind me of the mis-happened love child between a grocery store and a library.
Of the few (due to their location) Independent bookstores I patronize, and though my infrequent visits prevent them from always recognizing me, they still strive to give me the best personalized service every single time I go in. I’ve even learned of authors and trends that were before unknown to me, because the small shop employee was so much more learned than the college student trying to pay off his student loans at the big store.
Alas, with Amazon and the internet becoming so much more capable, the limitations that once prevented small stores from getting the merchandise of the big stores is mostly gone. Even small presses are finding it easier to distribute more widely, thus enabling more and more stores to carry them. This strengthens the possibilities of the Independent Book store. As much as I don’t like to think about all the people that’ll be put out of work when the grocery store of book sellers goes under, it does warm my heart to know that the struggling Family Owned store now has a better chance to survive as a great place to go for personal service and great books.