Did you see The Future of Books: A Dystopian Timeline over at TechCrunch today? There are some rich morsels in there, like the prediction that the death of all Mom and Pop stores will happen by 2015. Maybe it’s true. I hope not. I don’t take (much) fault with the logic, but it’s the phrasing that really gets to me: Like “the death of all Mom and Pop stores,” “the great culling of the Publishers” and “if you’re currently in the booksales racket… I’d be very worried.” It just illuminates to me how these doomsday criers are missing the point. Those Mom and Pop stores? Yeah, they’re owned by Moms and Pops. They’re real people providing a real and underrated service. They don’t just sell books; they host community events, they give back to their local economies, they take literacy into the schools. They serve a greater purpose in their community.
Even the title “A Dystopian Timeline.” Please, at least try and hide the glee in your tone. Which makes this statement a real nerve-grater:
You’ll miss them, will you? I’m sure that will mean a lot to those booksellers when they turn the Closed sign on their door for the final time. I really think you will miss them. And I don’t believe the sound of Macs starting up at your Barnes and Noble Cafe cum Wireless Portal will ever replace the sound of that creaky old church floor.
But I’m ranting. Tell me honestly, am I fighting progress? Am I a hopeless Ludite fighting against the Industrial Revolution? Should I just get on with the times and stop being so romantic? ]
I just really don’t want to live in a future without bookstores.
(Photo of an Amsterdam bookshop from MorBCN)