The excitement of the last post was fleeting, to say the least. On my way to work this morning, I passed by a suspiciously empty storefront at the corner of Front and Church. I was puzzled, and did a double take: the lights were off, and all of the goods inside were either gone or in cardboard boxes. Further inspection revealed a sign saying the store was closed, and handwriting stating the location of all the remaining branches of the chain.
Things like this happen all the time, depending on where you live. So why be troubled by a fact of economic life? Well, one, I’m right in the core of downtown Toronto, and two, the store that closed was a bookstore. And not just any bookstore, mind you – one that sold discounted first-run books. The books that maybe just hadn’t made it in Chapters, but were still perfectly serviceable.
Which makes me think, My God, will nothing survive the digital revolution?
This particular store has (had?) been a fixture on my morning commute ever since I started working for my current employer. Even if I didn’t go inside very often, it was always reassuring to know that a wide variety of first-hand books in different genres was always available. I bought biographies, memoirs, and books on ancient history there. Plus, they had a small but serviceable reference section where I ended up getting a number of useful books on writing style, including an old copy of the official style book for The Globe and Mail that I still keep on my official “editing references” bookshelf.
It feels like nothing is sacred anymore. Sure, some books may be expensive, and eBooks are becoming more common, but seriously – people can’t even be bothered to buy books that are half-price? What’s the world coming to?