Friday, August 05, 2016

Love (or something like it) at today's five and dime

I love bookstores.

Brick-and-mortar, physical, wonderful bookstores. Always have. Always will.

Sure, I helped put many of them out of business. Forget Cas Walker's old supermarkets. Amazon's prices can't be beat.

But, no. Shopping on Amazon is not the same. Not as good.

Give you one example. One of hundreds.

A bookstore is a treasure hunt. You can be strolling the aisles or heading in for one specific thing, and BOOM! Suddenly you find a book you'd wanted that's on sale for $3.99.


Bill, Robert, and I ate dinner last night, then walked through a nearby bookstore. I won't say which one for a number of reasons, but you've got a 50/50 shot once I describe it.

One thing that puzzles me, and one thing that I think might've helped bring the Hastings chain to extinction, is that mainline chain bookstores have become a Woolworth that happens to sell books and magazines.

You can get trinkets. You can get Godiva chocolate. You can buy toys. You can buy soda pop.

OK, I made up that last one. But it's an odd business model.

I guess the theory is that, given vastly changed purchasing habits, bookstores had to do something to get folks in the door. So, if a family walks in, the parents can go one way and the kids can go another. The comic book guy, the kid, the mom, and the movie buff can find what they want.

Bill made a good point. He said that a place like Hastings would go over great in a small town that doesn't have much. He's right.

Don't get me wrong. I love 'em still. But, I guess my heart's with the small independent, with the antiquarian shop and its random piles.

But, just as I don't go to a baseball game to ride a Ferris wheel, I don't go to a bookstore to buy peanuts and a Coke.

And, since it's Friday, here's the song that inspired the blog title. I hope Rita and Eddie are still waltzing the aisles of that five and dime...


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