Any discussion of the classics will never be complete unless we take into consideration availability of some of the greatest works of literature ever written (and that includes many that will NEVER be on the bestseller lists). How do those books survive? How do we connect with books, participate in the community of readers, and stumble upon other surprise treasures--if not for our local bookstores?
We've known for a long time that the publishing industry is in trouble; and so are our favorite independent bookstores. The economy has hit them all hard--you may have noticed at least one or two of your favorite shops have closed. Of course, there's something to be said for convenience (the most often-heard reason why readers buy their books online instead of visiting their local bookstore). If you've not been to your local independent bookstore, help me celebrate Independent Booksellers Week by visiting it this week! (I was just reading an article on The Guardian: How to Survive as an Independent Bookshop...
Whenever I've just finished reading an absolutely fantastic book, I'm tempted to chuck it all, rent a little space, buy up a few hundred books to start, put the coffee on to brew, and wait until the flood of readers/writers/thinkers are drawn to my door (it's probably the whiff of old books--it draws us all in). It's a romantic notion. And, it's a lifestyle that's becoming more and more difficult to sustain.
So, since I can't afford to own my own little book store, here's a plea: Stop by a bookstore near you. Let them know you support them... It's not much, but I'm sure (if nothing else) you can enjoy the smell of books, and you may hear one or two titles call your name. You won't be able to resist!