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I write novels for teens and adults. Visit me here & on my website http://www.jenniferarcher.net

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Imagine...And The Two Davids

Okay, I admit it -- I'm an American Idol fan. (Why do people, including myself I gather, always feel as if we need to apologize for possessing an affinity for pure entertainment? When did simple "fun" become a four letter word if television is involved?)While I'm confessing, I might as well tell you that I'm also an avid watcher of Survivor and that on occasion, I tune-in to Dancing With The Stars. (Okay...before you get up on your high horse to look down your nose at me, you should know that my only other routine show is CNN--got to have that daily, messy dose of political adrenaline, ya know.)Anyway, back to IDOL. In case you've been living in a cave and don't know it (or perhaps you're one of those people up on your high horse) David Archuleta went up against David Cook last night. They are two very different types of performers, both extremely talented. Because I have a soft spot for rockers, (the kind that strut and wail, not the kind you sit on--although I like those, too), I had my fingers crossed for David Cook. Then David A. sang John Lennon's "Imagine" and almost brought tears to my eyes. Wow, that seventeen year old kid can sing! His voice is beautiful. I don't care which David wins. I can't imagine that they won't both go on to have successful careers in the music industry.

Another thing I can't imagine: Bookstores without books. Recently I read a post on a loop in which an author predicted that in the not-so-distant future bookstores would contain catalogues rather than books. In these store, patrons will go in and, instead of browsing shelves of books, choosing selections, then buying them and taking them home, we will go in, browse titles and read "blurbs" outlining the plot, make our selections, and then a clerk will go to the back and print, bind, etc. the book and bring it out to us. In minutes.

Maybe I can imagine this, but I don't want to. For me, the joy of going to a bookstore is browsing the shelves. Randomly pulling out titles, holding them in my hands, looking at the cover art, flipping through the pages and reading random paragraphs, imagining the people that live within the covers, deciding if I might want to spend time with them, get to know them, share their adventure. And then there's the smell. Yes, books have a distinctive scent. If you are a book lover, I'm sure you don't need me to tell you this. The scent of a brand new book is different than the scent of an old one -- say, at the library. I love them both. A world without bookstores filled with books will be a sadder world, a poorer world, a drab world.

How would you feel about the bookstore of the future I've described above? Would you like it? Hate it? Do you think it's a possibility?

Happy Reading,



Travis Erwin said...

That will be a sad day indeed.

Anonymous said...

Ah, so you're one of the Cougars for Cook? :) (Something I read about in the paper.) No high horse here-- I watch Gene Simmons Family Jewels!

As for Print On Demand bookstores--heaven forbid! I can see where POD would be great for text and reference books, but don't mess with my bookstores! I love the same thing you do about them, and the thrill of collecting old books that have had a journey longer than I've been alive is indescribable!

I say NO to this abomination! :)

dee said...

okay...I have to admit that when you also said that you liked rockers that you can sit on, Gene Simmons did pop into my mind...but it was in the gutter already...AS far as the demise of the book, I have to say that publishers would love it to go this direction - lower overhead,no returns, less waste....BUT I for one think that for novels anyway, they are emotional reads...and emotional buys...and yes ..smell matters...that's why I go to a bookstore and not wal mart....I don't want to be deprived of the giddy excitement of the tree latest books now sitting atop my "to be read" pile...it wouldn't be the same if I'd just circled them in a catalogue....

L.A. Mitchell said...

Hey Jenny,
This is my first time visiting, just wanted to say hi.

I, too, would be sad if the brick and mortar went the way of the dinosaur. Nothing compares to walking into a bookstore-it's like a sigh.

Take care!