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February 21, 2011


James Dashner

Shannon, bless you, girl! I get so incredibly sad when I think about bookstores disappearing. Please don't let it happen. Please. Here's another small reason to add: I love to WRITE in bookstores. The atmosphere does wonders for my creativity.


One advantage to the thinning out of bigger chain bookstores is that the indies may have a chance to get a better foothold, right? I mean, sometimes you need a book right now, not in 4-6 weeks or even 2-3 days (overnighting a book seems a little melodramatic).
Here's hoping that's the result anyway.

Ruby Diamond

So here's my question: I supported my local independent bookstore, but it closed anyway about a year and a half ago. Which is second best, ordering from an independent out of town, or ordering from a chain in town?


After I learned the ins and outs of the publishing industry a few years ago, I realized that bookstores are essential to an author's backlist. How many authors hit the bestseller list with their first novel? Not many, but once an author is discovered, an expert bookseller can point them to the author's backlist.

That aside, there's something to be said for selling a book that is displayed. You can't see the options in a particular genre as easily online as you can on a bookshelf. Every reader needs the chance to explore and discover books.

I also have a problem with the stacks of bestsellers at Costco and Walmart, etc. It's the same backlist argument. Anyway, I will now step off my soapbox.


At bookstores you will also probably see a book that will catch your eye that you never would have looked at online in the first place so they help you find new genres too.


I love our book store, Kings English! What would I do if I couldn't just look and browse when buying a book for my grandchildren? I would be totally lost!!!


Unfortunately...Borders is the only bookstore in my hometown. AND it's closing.



I love my Borders and I hope it doesn't close. It's just such a relaxing place for book lovers all over my neighborhood.

Amanda Norr

I do buy a lot of my books online, but I LOVE going into a book store, that is where I find new things to read. I can spend hours in one.


Bookstores are my addiction. If I've had a stressful day, I go to the Borders that's on my way home (which is closing) and browse, buy, smell the books.


I love the surprise element of browsing in a bookstore - you never know what you'll find. They are community hubs, too. Here's hoping they stick around for a long time.

Karen Adair

It's like being in a candy store. Sure it may look good online, but you can't smell, sample, or peruse very well that way. And for the books I have bought online, I've never bought one that I hadn't first perused in a bookstore. I often frequent a small privately owned bookstore nearby, and love how she makes required books available for my children's High School classes. Especially when my children forget to tell me they need it and I can't afford those few days to order it. :)


That's HORRIBLE! I agree with Gillian who said that sometimes you can't wait for a book to be shipped- you need it RIGHT NOW. I know so many kind bookseller, and I can't believe that hundreds like them will now lose their jobs! Horrible!


You can't run your hand over the cover of an E-book. You can't smell it's pages, that wonderful scent of ink on paper. Electronic books take all the magic out of reading, for me.

I need bookstores to get REAL books. The kind I can stare at on my shelf and pick up just to read my favorite parts when I'm feeling down.

Ariell Larson

They create A quiet, enjoyable atmosphere in which to settle in and read. I love reading at a bookstore. Also I have children and I think it's important for them to experience being in an actual bookstore and gaining a love for books that they can't get by viewing an online book site. I totally agree with you. I was exceptionally disappointed by Borders bankruptcy. That is the store I buy 95% of my books at and I buy quite a few each year.
Also I am a hopeful author to be. It is not very encouraging to see such a decline in such a prolific art.


Borders is my favorite store, the environment so quiet and relaxing. I can buy a coffee, start reading a book, and enjoy myself. If I like the book so far, I'll probably buy it. It's heartbreaking to think of Borders leaving their big store in the mall, leaving their location just a couple miles farther away. Whenever I need a book, no more saying, "Let's run down to Borders and look at some!" When you buy a book online or a book for your Kindle, well, it's just not the right reading-feeling. When I buy a book, I need the book to be RIGHT THERE. Right where I can grasp it, preview it, admire its cover art, stroke its spine. Plus, when you buy at a bookstore, you don't have to pay a grossly overpriced $11.00 for shipping.

Anna P

and now its getting worse, right? what with nooks and kindles and such (which, don't get me wrong, are great for vacationing, but as a total book replacement, i'm severly against them).
i am an avid visitor of barnes and nobel. always have been. always will be. while online stores are great and also employee people, i have made a vow to only purchase books via bookstore for the very reasons you listed.
there isn't much else that can get me as excited as i do than browsing a book store. i love the overwhelming feeling of books unread, just waiting to be opened and explored. its beautiful. i don't get that same feeling shopping online (for anything, really). that is one of the biggest reasons i will always and forever purchase from bookstores (for as long as they last!)

great post, shannon. as always.
thank you for bringing attention to a matter such as this.


I'm torn on this one. Yes, yes! I agree! But- times are a changing. I love what eBooks have done for literacy, too! I'd love to hear how you might anticipate how the online life of book-selling and reading might become important for authors and readers, too.


Bookstores are just nice places in general. And while I have to say that I prefer Barnes and Noble to Borders, I know many people who love Borders and are sad to see their shops closing. The only reasons I ever buy from a site is because of the cheaper prices or because I have an online giftcard. I like brick-and-mortars much better though because you can actually pick up and discover new books.


I love taking the kids to the bookstore to browse. It not only gets books into their hands (thus getting the cell phones out of them for a brief amount of time), but it also helps me to see what they are reading and interested in for gifts and that (not to mention helping them avoid anything inappropriate for their ages). Plus, it's something you can do with other people. I think that online buying and the quick access the internet gives us is making us a more isolated society. I also love talking to the people who work there, getting their opinions on books and authors.


I run an independent bookstore www.portico.com.au in Australia. Our passion is to put good books into people's hands (I've sent many a Shannon Hale home with parents for their daughters, and they are so grateful)... But we are wondering whether we can survive the year. People come in and say unashamedly 'I don't buy from bookstores anymore, I just browse at bookstores and buy online'... but have they thought about what it will be like when there are no more bookstores to browse?

Kelly C.

No! Not the bookstores!
I love Barns and Nobles. I don't have any money to buy books there but it's still a great place... I'd probably clear the shelf's if I had the money, I love books.
I love the way they feel in my hands, the sound of pages turning, the smell of them, the cover art, the font, everything. But those things are characteristics about real books, e-books just aren't real. Nope. I can't stand it when I go to school and see someone reading an e-book, just isn't right. Books were meant to be printed, be on real paper. Stories were and still are supposed to be tangible.
Really e-books just aren't so great sounding.
I agree with Anna. Unopened books just waiting to be explored is indeed a beautiful thing. And I too am never buying a book that's not via bookstore.
I hope that the bookstores don't all go out of business, that would be the biggest tragedy since 9/11.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention Shannon. You're post are awesome as always!
Real books and Bookstores rule!


I love the atmosphere at the local bookstores. I wish the prices could be similar to the on-line book stores, but it just isn't so. I do love that I can pop over and get whatever I need whenever I want it. When you order on line, you are subject to waiting a couple of weeks. I'm so sad about Borders.


I'm guilty as charged for mostly getting my books via the library and I got so excited when I got an e-reader. I will only use it when I travel but now I feel so guilty and it's true reading from an e-book isn't quite the same as actually holding a book.
I believe they are here to stay, or at least I really hope they do. There is just something about It kind of reminds of when people said that movie theaters may go out of business, but people still want that feel of going to see something on the big screen. I think the same thing applies with books. Seeing all those books lined up just waiting to be read. Reading an actually book helps us get away from always having a technology device in our hands. We still need the feel of realness.
I will definitely frequent my local bookstore more often after reading this.

Lauren Hughes

I bought ALL my Christmas gifts at bookstores this year. I think I spent $200 at Borders because I'd been hearing they were hurting. I still feel guilty because I have a Kindle which I use for personal reading, but I try to compensate by buying all my classroom books and gifts at bookstores.

Such sad news!

Bonnie Childress

More than once, it has disgusted me that we have more liquor stores, where I live, than book stores. I can only think of 2 books, of the thousands I own, that I bought online. I just love going to book stores, it is relaxing and rejuvenating. I was really sad when I heard about Borders, even though we don't have one close.


I'm fortunate to work at one of the Borders that is staying open in my area. But for hundreds of other employees, they are losing their way of living, and more importantly, their passion.

Whether it's a big "Box Store" or a local book store, nothing can beat having a conversation with a bookseller.

The people that I work with are extremly talented and caring individuals who love spreading the value of reading!


Reasons bookstores are important:
1) Hiding and browsing in a stack of books is infinitely more interesting than looking at a computer screen.
2) You are more likely to make delightful bookish discoveries.
3) Bookstores have Story time. I guess libraries do, too. But you can bet online stores don't.
4) You can run your fingers across the tops of rows of books, embrace the spine, and hear the crack as you open it to take a closer look.
5) Bookstores emanate peace.
6) Bookstores are a playground for the imagination.
7) Bookstores are more personal than a computer.
8) Bookstores provide opportunities for book lovers to meet and share their favorites.
9) Carrying a stack of prospective buys is fun.
10) Bookstores are much farther away from the society in Fahrenheit 451 than are online stores.


When I read this, I immediately looked up what independent bookstores were near my house, went out less than an hour later, and bought a book. Thank you for reminding me how important bookstores really are.

Also, I totally agree with all the comments above. I currently buy most of my books online, but I know that bookstores are much better, and I'm going to make an effort to go to the store more often. I love looking through all the different books and I am more likely to buy a book I've never heard of when I'm in a bookstore than if I'm buying online. Most of the time, the books that I end up buying become some of my favorites.


I love bookstores. My favorite is The Kings English. I also love Dolly's Bookstore in Park City.
I own a Nook and read a lot of books on it. I love owning physical copies too so with the Nook, I usually buy the book twice, and ebook version and a Hardback or Paperback copy if I really loved the book and want to add it to my Library.


I don't like Borders, but I do buy the majority of my books at Barnes & Noble, or my small, local bookstore. They're the best-so friendly, kind, and true book lovers! But your blog post has been very eye-opening. Thanks, Shannon! :)


THANK YOU!!!!!!! I am so glad there are others who share my concern with the closing of borders and other local stores. with big mega stores, such as amazon and walmart and such, we are decreasing our individuality. Each book store says something, has a special and distinct feel about that simply is not there when one shops online. Besides, the fact, there is something about running around (well, not running...) a book store, feeling the spine, cracking open a novel and reading the first chapter right then and there (and seeing many more do the same) there is a magic there. A something that is unachievable any. other. way. Through book stores, don't we share a connection--isn't it like a meeting place of book lovers? I will lose my respect for this world if there cease to be book stores. Book stores, to me, are like an indicator. If we can still express ourselves through novels, can still roam a place where people like me--like us--utterly belong, then there is hope. As long as there are book stores, there is beauty because that was always extremely important to me, the beauty of words. And seeing the words on a real page. And being surrounded by hundreds of them, so many that i think i might faint. I love reading; it makes up a part of who i am, so losing book stores will be like a bucket of cold water chucked over me head. Please, world, don't let the book stores die out--I love them so.


@ Tamsen, a few posts up--YOU SPOKE ME MIND!!!!!!!!! I completely agree. Where else can you hide amid the books, all of us connected through the different world in which we are immersed? And story time, story time is like how we teach children the IMPORTANCE of books! Furthermore, what about the bargain bins? I can find endless treasures there. Also, i love running my fingers over the spines of books. Nothing makes me happier. Also, seeing the books in person=amazing. So, full of awesome, I can't even being to describe it. Sorry, you just made me remember more of the reasons books stores are so magical. thanks. =o)


Since the sixth grade, my friends and I have organized reunions we call "Border's trips" where we hang out in the store and read books and manga and drink coffee and talk; we go to different high schools now, so whenever we have one of these trips we talk for hours, and we always buy books. It terrifies me that Borders is losing so much business due to ebooks, and the prospect of losing my favorite bookstore is daunting. Luckily the particular store where we convene isn't going to be closing, but I still can't shake the feeling that it might hafta go someday.
I can't stand the thought. I love bookstores, the smell of new books lining shelves, the sight of hundreds of books spread out before you, walls lined with fantastic new and undiscovered worlds. Losing just one bookstore feels like the loss of all those things, and I can only hope that the economy will pick up and people will start buying books again.
I'm afraid that I'm guilty of having bought ebooks and ordered books online several times, but ebooks just don't have that same feeling as a book, with that smooth and crisp feel of paper under your fingers and every page as warm and real as it can be. Ebooks are convenient, but real books are irreplaceable.
Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Mrs. Shannon!! I had heard of the Borders thing, but it was in the back of my mind with the budget cuts my school is facing. I think it's about time for a few more Borders trips. I can't do much more than support the Border's in my community, but I will do so with a heartfelt effort, because books are amazing.


Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much.

The Borders in my town is closing, and it's been rough for me to deal with. It's not because I won't have a place to buy books now, but it's because I have spent so much time at that store for the past decade. I made friends there, discovered authors there, and received writing encouragement, not to mention comfort. It makes me sad that little girls (like I was) will lose the opportunities that the store granted me.


I do not feel guilty at all that I buy most of my books cheaper, online. I occasionally will buy a book at one of the local bookstores in my area, but usually when there is a sale and the books are on discount or when I'm going to an author's reading.

I love books. I want for there to be good books out there written by good authors. I love going to the bookstore and the library. BUT, the reality is that I try to make every penny of my money count. And the discretionary money in my budget is very small and even if it wasn't, I would still want to save as much money as possible in every purchase I make. So rarely, I will splurge and pay full price for a book, but even when I do, I think about the money I could have saved purchasing it for cheaper.

I've often wondered if the smaller bookstores could form some kind of alliance to buy bigger quantities of books so they can sell them for cheaper prices like Costco and Amazon do.

Teresa Raines

I don't want to think about a world without bookstores like Hicklebee's (a family favorite), or libraries (ours has been closed for the past 4 days). People will still buy books and even though our lovely local Borders is closing, we still have Hicklebee's and a very large B&N nearby.


I completely agree! I almost always buy my books at a local store, "Wonderland Books and Toys," and, although they're a mite more expensive than online, the service is great! It was that store that introduced me to your books, actually. They're so nice there!


Social interaction: Such as... drumroll please, visiting Authors! New Releases! Book Groups!

I've been known to ask complete strangers about a book they are buying at a book store and then ask for their recommendations.

Brick and mortar stores are places of human interaction.

Our digital world relates us only so far and then we must take the interactions into the real world and form the interactions into meaningful social connections.

Callie the Strongbad Fan

I'm sad about bookstores going out of business. Not just for Borders. In my own local area, Powells had to lay off lots of employees because of the recession. As the world grows in buying ebooks for kindles or buying books online, I think that the electronic feeling just can't beat the feeling of browsing through pages of books at stores, the smell of books, grabbing the newest release, the joy of flipping through the pages, the beauty of book displays, and the fun of book narrations and books signings. I might sound old fashioned, but MAN! I hope that what happened to Borders doesn't become a bigger problem. I do find online helpful for buying books that are out of print or extremely hard to find. The bookstore still can't be beat.

Callie the Strongbad Fan

I'm sad about bookstores going out of business. Not just for Borders. In my own local area, Powells had to lay off lots of employees because of the recession. As the world grows in buying ebooks for kindles or buying books online, I think that the electronic feeling just can't beat the feeling of browsing through pages of books at stores, the smell of books, grabbing the newest release, the joy of flipping through the pages, the beauty of book displays, and the fun of book narrations and books signings. I might sound old fashioned, but MAN! I hope that what happened to Borders doesn't become a bigger problem. I do find online helpful for buying books that are out of print or extremely hard to find. The bookstore still can't be beat.


Hmm. I guess I'll be the dissenting voice here. :) I buy my books through Amazon. We're a one income family and I can't justify spending twice as much for a book, especially when I'll also have to spend 45 minutes shopping with three small children in order to get it from the local Borders. That is too costly on two counts! I also usually have a specific book (or at least a specific author) in mind when I want to buy a book, and usually Borders doesn't have it in stock. Oh, they're happy to order it for me, but it will take three times as long to ship it (compared to amazon) and it still costs too much AND now my 45 minute trip with the kids was for nothing.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that I get most of my best book recommendations online, not from a teenager working at Borders. I'm far, far more likely to purchase a book that is mentioned favorably by a favorite blogger, than to buy one whose cover caught my eye in a store. I guess what I'm saying is that for me, online browsing is much more likely to end in a purchase than bookstore browsing.

Shannon, I love your books, and I completely understand that you need to sell them! I just disagree that bookstores are the only way (or the best way) to do that.


My local Borders is closing. I'm incredibly sad about it, because that Borders has been here for as long as I can remember. All of the picture books I got when I was little and inspired my love of reading came from that store, and I've been coming to it often ever since.
Bookstores need to survive; they make social interaction with actual human beings neccessary to get books. Unlike online bookstores, they allow potential buyers to scan the shelves, pick and choose, buy something spontaneously. Most likely, if you buy a book online, you already know about it. Great covers and flashy displays-- one of the many things we love about books-- are essentially effective only in a real bookstore.
We need to keep "brick-and-mortar" bookstores alive!

Alexandra Wood

Walking through a bookstore is wonderful. It clears your mind. It is like walking into a whole new world. I love to just smell the books, and of course look for one that I want. It is terrible that bookstores are closing. Bookstores should be a part of every town (true, I live in Colfax, a tiny tiny town that doesn't have much, by hey!). We can just hope.

Louisiana Kid

I am so glad the our town Barnes and Noble is doing well. I love that store it has every thing. There is all ways tons of people in there, so there is no danger of it closing. Thank goodness. I love going to do my homework there.


My hometown doesn't have any bookstores, and I've always wished very much that it did. I grew up in the middle of nowhere, and the only town near enough to visit on a regular basis had essentials for sale, and that was pretty much it. I was 21 years old the first time I ever walked into a bookstore, and it felt like coming home. Now, at 24, I've still only been inside a bookstore a grand total of 5 times.

Those of you who have bookstores nearby: don't waste the opportunity. They're wonderful places and absolutely worth supporting!

Christy Grigg

This post is one of the main reasons I love reading your blog...I never would have even thought about these issues otherwise. You can bet I'll be out there supporting my local bookstores more now...Thanks!


This is the same thing that is happening to newspapers. I'm torn because I like the online version of the paper--save the trees!--but I also am a person that cuts a lot of things out of the paper for various reasons. The paper keeps getting smaller and less in it.
And bookstores are all about the atmosphere for me. I order a lot online because I know what I want. I go to the library to "sample" but bookstores are so very important especially in light of how little reading people do nowadays. We're pretty much becoming illiterate as a society.


When we're on vacation and my kids are so done shopping, we can ALWAYS hang out in a book store. They could spend hours there and be happy.

Louisiana Kid

Personally I think that electronic books are ridiculous. They say "you can take it anywhere!" but you can do that with a regular old paper back too. If there were no paper back books i would not be a happy camper. I love the feel of them in my hand.

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