Save the Book! Please!

Friday, February 06, 2009
I am using my post today to talk about sad news I have received this week--one is that my favorite independent bookstore has closed, and two, The Washington Post is no longer going to have a print edition of their weekly book section, "Book World."

First, my favorite independent bookstore . . . Pages for All Ages in Savoy, IL (which is in Champaign County) closed its doors on my birthday! UGH! Last week, I went there, excited to look for a book, and it was closed. But the sign on the door simply said, "Closed for inventory." I thought this was weird, but I surely didn't think they would be going out of business. They had been in the book selling business for 20 years, and people of all ages flocked there. Of course, maybe all these people were just drinking coffee, reading books and magazines, and using the free Internet service. Now, it is closed. Closed. Closed. Closed. I keep hoping for a miracle.

Then, I receive an email from one of my writing friends that says,

"The big news on everyone's tongue this week has been the unfortunate decision by the Washington Post to shutter its stand-alone book review section, 'Book World.' 'Book World' is scheduled to appear in its final print edition on February 15, though it will continue to be published online. According to the Washington Post, the printed Sunday book content will be split between two sections in the paper - 'Outlook' and 'Style & Arts.'

"Book World fans should take heart however, because if you are in possession of a connection to the Internet (which, if you are reading this, you are), you'll still be able to read 'Book World' online, and, according to the Washington Post's Rachel Hartigan Shea, 'you may not notice any change in our coverage at all and might even see some improvements.'

"This Sunday is one of your final few chances to read 'Book World' in print, so pick up a copy of the Washington Post at your local newsagent. Or start reading Book World online."

So, what is this saying about books? I'm hoping it is saying nothing. I am hoping, and this may sound weird, that these are just more results of our failing economy. I hope it is NOT saying that people are losing interest in reading. Are people really losing interest in books?

To me, books are the eighth wonder of the world. I guess I need to start convincing more people.
Happy Reading!
Margo L. Dill
Read These Books and Use Them (blog)


Magaly Guerrero said...

It gets scarier and scarier, doesn’t it? I don’t know, call me traditional, but nothing replaces the feeling of holding a book while you read it. I don’t mind reading news and blobs (*grin*) online, but I don’t want to read the next great Romance on a monitor. It is not the same and I doubt it will ever be :(

Anonymous said...

I can't believe -- don't want to believe -- that browsing the shelves of a favorite bookstore could ever be completely replaced by browsing the net for online books. It does seem, though, that blogs and online newsletters, magazines, and digital books are choking cyberspace, while more and more bookstores shut their doors. Very disheartening to those of us who are never happier than when we have a book in our hands.

Anonymous said...

No! Not Pages For All Ages! I was just there last December while visiting Champaign (I went to UIUC). Internet shopping will never replace PFAA. You have my sympathies.

Anonymous said...

The trend is very sad, indeed, but thanks for keeping us up-to-date; it helps us all to know what's going on so we can formulate intelligent commentary for what outlets there are online, in newspapers, on the radio, etc. Good job. Please keep it up. We're grateful to know - even when it's bad news.

Anonymous said...

The times, they are a-changing. (Looks around for a silver lining.) On a positive note, when literature is moved online instead of offline, precious trees are saved. As someone who's as big a tree hugger as they are a book lover, I'm happy about that.

However, I'm also a traditionalist and when changes like this happen, I can't help feeling sad.

I'm especially sorry to hear about your favorite bookstore. I know how sad I'd be if I saw a similar sign on my own! Ack, I don't even want to think about it.

It is surely a sign of our economy. I've watched as some of my favorite restaurants have closed their doors and say a prayer of gratitude when I walk through the doors of those still open!

At the risk channeling Mary Poppins, I truly believe President Obama will turn the tide, just as President Reagan did years ago. We just need businesses to hang on, dig deep, and ride it out the best they can.

Your post is a reminder for all of us to keep doing our part.

Me? I'm going to the bookstore today to buy a couple of books. Dr. Phil's wife, Robin, has one that looks fascinating and I'm always up for a new Dean Koontz book.

Anonymous said...

Pages For All Ages is my favorite book store. i visit once a month and spen hours in there searching the shelves for the right books. now i guess i'll have to use Walden Books here in town. It's not the same, i miss Page's.

I too worry about book becoming out dated and changed to computer format. you can read books on your cell phone now, it's not something i want to do. there's nothing better than the smell of a book, the feel of it in your hands and the pictures it can dreate in you mind.

I too hope this isn't a sign of what's to come.


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