Yes, the economy is partly to blame. But choosing to shop online is just as deadly to them. Just the other day a friend was lamenting the closing of several of her favorite bookstores she used to visit when traveling. The buildings were being used by different retailers, or standing empty, looking lonely and sad. Gasp! What had happened? I asked her how she purchased most of her books, and she replied "online". When I informed her she was part of the problem she gasped for real, not realizing today's trend is leading to so many closings.
Okay, I get it. Why go out shopping when you can sit at home and click? Crowds are annoying. But a bookstore isn't a big chain or warehouse with twenty checkout lanes but only three in operation. There are no long lines here. There are no pushy people with attitudes. Readers are cool! What you have in a bookstore is ambiance; the smell of books; the joy of finding that special volume (or having it ordered for you, maybe at a discount); and friendship. These are places where book clubs meet, where writers' groups gather and where you can relax and relieve the stress of the day or week.
The last 4 hours at Boaz Books were spent sharing stories, eating cheesecake and laughing. Stories and laughter. You can't get those by sitting alone and clicking "add to cart". Please, show some love for your local bookstore. If not you, then who? They're dying. Rescue them. They are too important to lose forever.