A Sad Tale

One of my rules, coming back to blogging, is to actually talk about stuff which I care about. No matter how trivial.

I collect books. Which means that I buy the puppies at garage sales and keep the good ones and sell the doubtful onwards. Basically I have a couple of thousand good books which have cost me nothing.

Now, to do that I have to have used bookstores who need stock.

Once in a while I clear the shelves of the buying mistakes I have made. Good books but not my cup of tea. I hop the buss with a couple of bags of books. Trade, sell, whatever.

I landed at my favorite used book dealer and, with a giant 50% off sign in his window I realized that this was a no sale environment.

Why? I’ll let Terry (not his real name) tell the story,

“Well the HST pretty much finished me. And I used to make money online but the postage rates got so high I had to eat them for my American customers. But mainly it is the Kindle.”

“Used to be that when a family went on vacation – which they sure are not doing thanks to the ferry fares, at least not here – they would come in and buy a bunch of novels and the kids would get some books. Now they upload them.”

“Terry” is not bitter. He loved the job and is now done. He’ll be fine.

The gradual passing of used bookstores, where the environment was about reading and about getting a deal is passing. The sheer tonnage of mysteries and romances – always outweighing books I might like to read – is entirely adaptable to the Kindle or IPad.

Which will still, sadly, mean the conversations and the easy sense of books as delightful will have passed. There is nothing delighful about asking the sales “lead” at Chapters for a book you might like. She, after all, started last week and read her last book at the end of her “Stucies” degree.


One thought on “A Sad Tale

  1. Maikeru says:

    I have a friend in exactly the same boat, Jay, and for the same reason.
    He used to own 2 good used bookstores, and is now down to one on its last legs.
    He’s very good at selecting books to offer for sale, and was a great source for securing book series from favourite authors, such as Patrick O’Brian (he of the Maturin/Aubrey ‘Age of Fighting Sail’).

    And it’s not just bookstores in decline – the video store, once a hot item, is also facing extinction. I lament the passing of both, as ‘browsing’ for new finds in books and movies doesn’t seem to be as simple online, even with synopses readily available.

    Our society is becoming ever more dependent upon electricity to provide the means of access to information of all sorts, which makes the source and transmission of same ever more crucial.

    The upside of electronic entertainment, though, is the ability to access and share material which disappeared down the memory hole until the internet came along…

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