September 13, 2016 | By Kiya Myers

Many have been wondering about the future of bookstores as the growth of e-books increase. Will traditional books resemble the decline that CD’s, cassette tapes, and DVD’s have experienced as a result of technology? The purpose of visiting bookstores as the digital world advances is changing. 

For example, when I ordered my textbooks for my graduate classes this semester, my first thought was to head to my computer to order my books, however, 10 years ago in high school, my first reaction was to go to a bookstore or the local library, or at least call them to confirm if they had the book. 

I purchased all of my books in the e-book format this year. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer a traditional book as the sight of books excite me. I am moving away from my point, but to give you a understanding there are books stacked on either side of my bed, not because I am lazy or messy. I like looking at books and I have decided to use them to decorate my bedroom. Nevertheless, I purchased all of my books, except for one that was only available in paperback, in the e-book format simply because of convenience. I wanted to have my books right away. I did not have the patience to wait or give myself anxiety worrying when my books would arrive. I did not want to have to trust the distributor or the mail carrier when I had assignments to complete.

“According to ABA newsletter Bookselling this Week, U.S. book sales across all channels for November were up 7.5% over last year, with the year-to-date sales up 1.7% over 2014. For independent bookstores that are members of ABA, sales are up 10% over 2014. Furthermore, as of a report in February 2015, the number of ABA member independent bookstores increased 27% since 2009.”

With that said, I still enjoy bookstores, my favorite bookstore right now is Books-a-Million. I enjoy browsing the aisles. It’s almost as if I am walking through a touch and play museum. Wanda Jewell, executive director of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance said, “People who love books and stories want a place to gather.” I frequent bookstores when I want to relax and think of something yet to be discovered. I always have, in elementary school, during recess I found a way to spend recess in the library while everyone else played outside. I also remember volunteering at the scholastic book fair when my class was not even scheduled to attend. Being around books makes me happy.

Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association said, “We are still here because stores play a real role in their community, and tens of times a day they are putting the right book into someone’s hand.” If smaller community bookstores stores are still flourishing, I’d like to think it’s because books carry so much value to their readers. Similar to the way pen and paper is still useful after the invention of a tablet, bookstores will never be replaced by an online store. 

Reference:

Garrett, Echo “Independent book stores flourish in the digital age.” Publishing Perpectives, 11 July 2015, http://publishingperspectives.com/2016/01/independent-bookstores-thrive-in-digital-age/#.V9ikvzT3aJI

Cox, Erin L.”How Independent Bookstores Are Thriving in the Digital Age.” The Atlanta Journal Constitution, 22 Jan. 2016, http://www.myajc.com/news/entertainment/books-literature/independent-book-stores-flourish-in-the-digital-ag/nmw2M/

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