I am sitting in my old desk chair, in a bookshop that was at one time a gas station (garage door still intact); that one time was over 35 years ago. This shop has thrived in this community of readers for over three decades. That is an accomplishment, however, I do find myself wondering what the future will bring. Everyday I meet more and more people who are downsizing their book collections as they grow older. Less often I meet people who are building their life libraries. It is more common now to keep your library on your electronic device, gone are the days of living room walls lined with bookshelves full of leather bound gilt chased volumes. And Yes, I do miss those days.
BUT…I believe in the future of books. I think there is a place for the bookshelf in our lives as well as the electronic books we take to the beach. There are multitudinous books that aren’t available electronically, as well as many that aren’t available in print. There has to be a balance here. The community bookstore is a place where children are introduced to the joys of reading, where they grow out of children’s books and into adult fiction, a place where parents and grandparents can share the books they loved as children with their children. It is a place to discuss love and death, politics and prose. If we lose our bookstores we become that much less of a reading community, that much less of a community.
What is the future? Books, bookstores, booksellers and readers…I hope.