Last weekend I found myself browsing the book shelves of Barnes & Noble, something I do fairly routinely.
I wasn’t sure what kind of book I wanted to get, or if I was even going to purchase one that day because there are three other books on my shelf that I haven’t had a chance to dive into yet.
And it wasn’t until I walked from section to section, grabbing, skimming and returning books to their rightful places did I notice how much I would miss doing this on a regular basis.
Lately I have been contemplating buying a Kindle, the e-reader created by Amazon. Perks: a library on your lap, cheaper books, less impact on the environment and much more travel convenience.
Disadvantages: browsing through book stores knowing that each time you buy an electronic book it pushes them closer and closer to expendability.
While having a Kindle, Nook or an iPad doesn’t disqualify you from going to bookstores, purchasing hard copies of books most certainly will decrease in large quantities. I am still under the impression that if bookstores started to become unviable, it would prove an extremely depressing day.
I’m constantly pulled in different directions when I enter a bookstore, a sensation that I do not get when I am shopping online.
Usually it is the Current Events section that grabs me first so I can see what journalists and scholars have published recently. Most of the time I want to understand a subject more comprehensively, especially if it has been plagued by the news recently.
Then my mood becomes ambitious and I make my way to the philosophy section and check in with Aristotle and Plato. Despite the heavy undertaking that is reading classic philosophical poetry, it still excites me to read something that is everlasting and continually relevant and applicable.
To round out my trip, most times I stumble across the literature aisles. The classics always stare me in the eye and make me feel guilty for not yet reading them. And most bookstores make it even more enticing by making the books under $10. Sometimes I escape and other times I pick one up and force myself to start reading, because once I start, I’m banking on it keeping my attention. This leads me to some of the up-and-coming authors who serve as important voices of the day.
Even if I don’t buy anything, which happens quite rarely, it’s an experience that more often than not invokes curiosity and an eagerness to explore. Not to mention the growing collection of personalities that are displayed on my bookshelf.
My dilemma of whether or not to go electronic with my library is a difficult one and I’m not sure at this point if I can ditch my browsing ways.
It’s difficult to imagine not maintaining a bookstore with my business and up to this point I’m not sure if my literary sensations can be met with a Web site.
Walking out of the bookstore with Aristotle’s “The Poetics,” Simon Johnson’s “13 Bankers,” and Dave Eggers “What is the What” probably wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing atmosphere in a bookstore, but having them accessible on one device is a desirable option as well. Quite a dilemma I must say.
Kevin Garrity, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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