I’ve been out in the world today and…
the ONLY bookstore in Big Rapids is closing. As in gone. I know a bookstore closing isn’t that big of a deal, but IT IS! Big Rapids likes to bill itself as a college town, what is a college town without a bookstore? A place where in addition to nothing happening already, now really nothing is happening.
There are so few reasons to go to town in the first place, sure the closest destination for any fast food craving I might have and if I want to see what human forms live under a rock I can always visit Walmart, but true reasons to go into town are few and far between. The bookstore was one of those reasons.
Was it the best bookstore, no even close. But and I shit you not, I always found a book to purchase every single stinking visit. Even when the cashier took a serious disliking to me for a while (not my fault or problem that she had such a problem with sex books. I rescued plenty from there.) . Yes, I could, can, and probably will order books from Amazon, but I would rather give a local small business my money. I have a soft spot for the small business.
Now the nearest bookstore is a car trip away and while I enjoy a good used bookstore could use the following things:
- A wash
- Regular hours
- A system of organization that is more advanced than “over there or check one of the piles near there.”
I do love visiting, but I only visit once every six months because the mold count is high enough to cause my son’s asthma to kick into over drive and I do not like having to check my purchase for mold. And if you are a regular reader you know my annual summer crusade to save sex books involves many used bookstores, but even I have my limits.
The next nearest bookstore is…oh wait that one with the cat closed too.
That makes the next nearest bookstore in Grand Rapids, an hour trip to a mall, and a name brand bookstore. Where the sales staff is more than happy to tell me I am in the wrong section and isn’t it lovely that our over-priced books are on sale for…that’s right list price and we will gladly order you those books you want, if we could only figure out how to use our computer…thanks, if I am going to give money to the big guy I’ll give it to Amazon they let me surf, don’t tell me I am in the wrong section, and prices unfortunately for everyone in the real world are cheap.
I don’t blame Amazon. I blame our society that has devalued books and devalued reading in favor of NOW! Don’t read the book, watch the movie. Don’t read a book, watch this six-second video it will tell you the same thing. Don’t read a book, pick up your tablet, book reader, and read on the go, BULLSHIT!
I am so glad I grew up when books and bookstores were destinations for families and the mind. I am a writer and I hate now, because “everyone” can type, everyone can “write,” and because “everyone” can type and “write” online everyone is published. Writers used to be admired because writing is hard, takes time, dedication, a willingness to part with part of you, now everyone writes. Not to many people read. Why do I say this, because if more people read less “everyone” would be “writing.”
Is there a silver lining? Not for the bookstore. Around here the boy wants to learn to mow and use the weedwhacker…that is my silver lining.