August, 2010

"Wanted: Parallel Universe..."

Commentary by Cherie Jung

I'm old enough now to remember the "good old days..."

I remember small bookstores where you could browse for hours.

I remember even in small towns you could sometimes find three or four bookstores. ( I remember one small tourist town had eight non-chain bookstores. And I visited each and every one, every time I came to town for a visit.)

I remember friendly and knowledgeable staff. They knew their stock -- which books were located on which shelves. They were eager to offer reading suggestions. They knew their clientele -- which books you might like, which books you wouldn't. And they didn't ask, "What did he write?" when you asked for a book by Charles Dickens.

Apparently readers don't need bookstores anymore. Luckily, a few of us still need books, though quite a few folks seem to be getting their reading material online these days, on their computer monitors, their TV screens, or downloading straight to one of the new e-readers. There are still some who prefer audio-books and a few of us are still clinging to the traditional book format.

I know the economy is rough. Budgets are tight. I know it's only a matter of time before bookstores - the brick and mortar kind - are so few and far between, that bus tours will be organized for those die-hards who insist upon the seeing the last ones before they're replace with a tattoo parlor/nail salon.

I've nearly given up all hope. All I'm asking...

Is there a parallel universe out there where I can settle down in a comfy armchair with a hot cup of tea and a good book? The kind you hold in your hand...


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