Where Have All the Bookstores Gone?

bookstoreI’ve been in the U.S. for almost a week now, and so far I’ve been to my favorite used bookstore and to the library (*cough* twice). Which is all great, because I’ve been able to find a few books that I was looking for for my daughter as well as check out a book that I had been wanting to read. But. You knew there was a ‘but’ coming, right?

Where the heck are all the bookstores?

It’s not like I’m totally out of touch with the world of books and publishing. I keep a book blog, right? And it’s only been two years since I visited the U.S. previously, so I had seen how many of the smaller bookstores were closing and even some of the bigger ones, like Borders. But I could still visit my local Barnes & Noble and spend a dreamy couple of hours browsing, which I was planning to do this trip as well.

Only, my local Barnes & Noble is no longer there. As far as I can tell from Google maps, there are only three Barnes & Noble stores left in the greater Atlanta area, Honestly, I had no idea that the physical bookstore as we know it was so far on its way out. It’s not even that I’m such a champion of the big bookstore–I love my indies, too. But for an out-of-country visitor who just wants to gorge on books, books and more books, the big ones sure are a treat. They are also, it seems, a thing of the past.

I’m probably as much to blame for this situation as the next person. I buy and read mainly e-books, so I’m guessing most other people do now, too. But it still makes me sad that things have changed so much, so fast. I guess I want to have my cake and eat it, too. And it looks like I’ll be waiting until I’m back home to order a few books online that I’d been hoping to find in an actual store.


9 thoughts on “Where Have All the Bookstores Gone?

  1. Cynthia Dunn

    I think Barnes and Noble is on its way out. I think they’ve already or are in the process of getting rid of their Nook division. At least in NYC we have some very good indies. But I do admit I complement my buying there with buying online. I never buy at B&N.

  2. Heather

    We have only one bookstore in our immediate area and it’s a BN. Unfortunately, I can’t stand the place now that they’ve turned themselves into a toy store that also happens to sell some books. It’s just not an enjoyable place to browse anymore, and they frequently don’t have what I’m looking for now (because they gave so much of their book real estate to the toy area). It’s quite sad.

  3. Marg

    How disappointing to not be able to browse when you are looking forward to it so much. I can’t remember the last time I truly browsed. These days I tend to know exactly what I want when I go into a story. I also don’t have enough spare money to just be able to go in and buy numerous books that I have discovered so it doesn’t feel like as much fun.

  4. Geoff W

    Thankfully being in Boston has kept a lot of the Indy bookstores in business. I know one has gone under in the past few years but there are a few that are institutions, other than that the Borders has gone and one of the large Barnes and Noble’s has closed, but there are still a lot of options here thankfully. I’d be interested to see demographic information based on degrees and education and number of bookstores, it would just suck to once again see the corroboration of lack of access and education.

  5. Trish

    This makes me so so so sad. The closest bookstore to me right now is Barnes and Noble in the mall and it’s just such a hassle to get in and out that I rarely go. That’s a lie–the closest bookstore is Half Price Books and I adore it and frequent it but I go for browsing because it’s hard to find specifics there. My indie has been closed for almost a year but the books are still in the bookstore. I just can’t understand what could have happened. Dallas needs more indies but I just don’t see it happening.

    In otherness, I hope you are having a FANTASTIC trip!

  6. Pingback: March Wrap-Up and April Reads | Too Fond

  7. Brooke

    I can think of at least 5 B&Ns in the Atlanta area!! I’m lucky that one is 7 miles from my house. As for the indies, they are harder to find for sure – but I can think of 8 great ones in the Atlanta area. I SHOULD HAVE GIVEN YOU A LIST.


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