by Barbara Bettis
Speaking of books. And where to get them.
I have a wonderful report (in theory).
This week when I was going through the grocery store checkout and chatting with the clerk, I discovered she was a senior at the local university, majoring in English.
She wants to open a bookstore when she graduates.
I nearly wept on her shoulder. I didn’t though, but I did thank her and encourage her in her dream. Luckily it was a slow day in the supermarket, so we were able to talk for a few minutes. She was cognizant of the difficulty of such an effort, but she said she hoped to open a small place to begin with, something that had space for people to gather, read, hold meetings, have coffee or tea.
She said she wanted it to be a spot for booklovers to congregate, and she would offer all kinds of books for purchase.
This, in my opinion, is a perfect kind of bookstore, one that encourages people who love to read to gather in the midst of books, to spend time alone with a cup of coffee and their favorite author, or to meet with friends to talk over—whatever they like.
It can even be a spot where other events are conducted. Our Borders used to host evenings of music, as well.
Our city is the third largest in the state, population-wise. Yet our Hastings left years ago and our Borders, of course, went out when the company folded. (I still miss our Borders. It was so very author friendly as well as reader friendly.) We have a scarce handful of used book stores, one store that sells both used and some new, and the Barnes and Noble, which seems to offer more ‘other things’ as the years go by.
Yes, the burgeoning of e-publishing and the shrinking market for hard-copy books affect booksellers and book buyers, as does the rising cost of books. Yet this young woman said she was willing to take the risk in order to bring back the warmth and energy of a bookstore.
I gave her my card and told her to let me know when it happened because I knew of several authors who would immediately patronize the place. (We’ll actually haunt it, but I didn’t want to scare her off.)
Let’s hope she manages to realize her dream.
What’s the reality of bookstores where you live?