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Do You Still Buy From the Bookstore?

Browsing paper-and-cardboard books seems to be a fading pastime as e-books consume the market. Have your book-buying habits changed?

Could bookstores soon become fiction?

Independent bookstores are few and far between, and chains like Borders already packed up and left a couple of years ago. Now, Barnes & Noble is shifting its resources from paper and ink to e-paper and e-ink. Store revenue has been declining along with print book sales, and even though the company says it's "fully committed" to the retail side of the business — it's shutting the books on unprofitable stores.

In the age of e-books and e-readers, as well as online deals, one reason that bookstores may be failing is that bookstore customers still love browsing — just not buying. They're going elsewhere for better deals or downloads.

So who has managed to keep shelves stocked during the literary apocalypse? Bookstores nearby include Berkshire Books and Half Price Books in Concord, The Storyteller in Lafayette and Sheila A. Grilli Bookseller in Martinez.

Do you still buy books from the bookstore, or do you just browse? How have you book-buying habits changed? Will you miss bookstores if they disappear completely? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.

Toni Steil-Bozym February 26, 2013 at 06:02 PM
It is discouraging to see the closures of our community bookstores as well as the threat to our larger vendors like Barnes and Noble. We can take some comfort in knowing that excellent books are still being written and are still loved by people who enjoy reading. One bright spot that still exists in Walnut Creek for those who continue to love reading a book they can hold in their hands is the Walnut Creek Library. And for those looking for an excellent bargain for quality books, the downtown Walnut Creek Library provides an excellent bookstore with a great selection. For anyone who hasn't yet visited the Friends of the Walnut Creek Library bookstore on the lower level of the downtown library, it really is worth checking out. And, as titles change and inventory is updated, coming in regularily will offer those of us who grieve the loss of our neighborhood bookstore the opportunities to keep our libraries updated and to continue to enjoy good reading.
Julie Laura Rose March 22, 2013 at 09:43 PM
The most amazing bookstore I've ever been in was in Tucson near the university, in 1972 (I'm pretty sure that was the year), a location that was a clothing store when I went back to Tucson a few years ago. This place would have just made your heart jump. It was huge and shaped like an L, with one or two areas with records you could check out on their stereos (I'm pretty sure there were two of these music areas), also teapots with hot water in a couple of places, I think a fountain (a large but quiet one) close to the entrance, and places all over to sit and read. There was also a hideaway at the far end of the store. To get into it, you climbed into a large hole hidden with the tall books on a bottom shelf area, and once you crawled in, there was another place to read, a well lit sort of closet. I hope I explain this so you can get a visual -- this area was a little deeper than the depth of two benches, and there was a ladder so you could climb up to the second level, where you could sprawl out on a cushion and read. (I guess there was something like a balustrade to keep people from falling out, but don't remember that clearly.) There was also a lower level with a cushion on which to sprawl and read -- it was like a bunk bed, but shallow, and built into the wall. THIS is my standard for a bookstore. It was so long ago, but I'm pretty sure there were new and used books, as well as the music.
Julie Laura Rose March 22, 2013 at 09:49 PM
I love bookstores and frequent them, but have such a large professional library and such a backlog of books to read that mostly the ones I buy are treasure hunted at thrift stores or garage sales because they had just come up in conversation or an article, and there they were. But I do buy books at bookstores for gifts, and occasionally buy new ones. I just really don't need anymore books right now. And that's a big shame, since I do really like frequenting and supporting LOCAL retailers. I guess one good way around this is to buy gift certificates at local bookstores, and get other people going in to them.
Julie Laura Rose March 22, 2013 at 09:51 PM
To support local businesses. Seems to me that as Sal the Plumber, you might be a local business too. Our community needs us to support it! Or else it will go away.
FAYE BULL May 04, 2013 at 01:36 AM
Bookshop Benicia!!!!! I love that shop. Independent bookstores are holy in my book! :-)

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