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As I have noted previously in this blog, I love to read.  Books are some of my most treasured commodities.  When I find a particularly beautiful edition of a beloved book I find it very hard to resist.

This love flows beyond the simplicity of the book to encompass libraries and, a personal love, BOOKSTORES!  In fact, while I was taking classes and tests to earn my certifications I worked part-time at a local Waldenbooks.  It was, in many ways, one of the greatest jobs I have ever had.  Being surrounded by books was a daily treat that made up for alot of the typical unpleasantness of working retail.

Anyone who is a true love of the printed medium will tell you that there is a feel to a room or building full of books.  There is a sense of order.  There is a smell that fills the air from the paper and bindings.  There is a sound that whispers through the place of ruffling pages.  Most people feel a certain sense of reverence in such places.  They talk in hushed voices, and often can’t explain exactly why.  It is a magical feeling.

During my time with Borders Group (Borders actually owns Waldenbooks) I saw the company begin to close stores, impose draconian standards on the remaining stores, and begin cutting back on the selection within their stores.  It was a sad thing to witness, but it is becoming more and more prevalent.  The bookstore, once a standard staple of any mall, is slowly disappearing.

Intellectually, I understand the reasons behind this.  As a techie I love the internet, and have developed a certain affection for Amazon.  Online retailers like Amazon are helping to sound the death knell for the local bookstores.  When you add in the current economic situation it just makes things worse.  After all, when jobs are unstable and you need to be sure rent and food are covered things like books quickly become a luxury.

I hate to see bookstores disappearing.  I love to spend hours browsing through their stock discovering new authors, rediscovering old favorites, and walking out with a new jewel to add to my hoard at home.  I realize that, in many ways, I am a bit hypocritical on this.  After all, I am an Amazon junkie as much as anyone.  I try to help out the store I used to work at, but sometimes the economics of things just make Amazon a much more sensible source.

I just hope it never comes to a day where the bookstore disappears altogether.  Libraries are wonderful places, I can spend hours in them as well.  But, the feel of ownership when you leave a bookstore with a new volume is a particular joy.

After all, each volume becomes a beloved friend with a place of honor amongst its fellows.

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