Tag Archives: bookstores

The Death of a Year

Let’s see if I can remember how to do this.

We’ll start with an opening sentence and take it from there.

Oh hi! I don’t really know if there are people who still read this. It’s been about, oh, two months since I last updated. I’ll make the assumption that everyone who reads my blog assumed that I had died over that little break. Well, I’m not dead. Far from it.

I’m here to do what’s likely to become the annual tradition around here. I’ll weep about my failures over the last year and make promises to do better next year.

Actually, you know what, let’s do this up right. Let’s not talk about failures. It’s boring, it’s whiny and no-one likes reading that. Let’s do the opposite of that. So here it is. My top five list of awesome shit that I did.

5. I killed three bookstores and a nationwide bookstore chain in the process. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Dylan, that’s…not such a good thing.” But it had to be done and I made sure it gone done smoothly. No one died, product got sold and there are people all over the city with Borders bookcases in their homes cause I did my job like a ninja. A retail ninja. And I did while remaining sane.

4. I submitted a whole crapton of stuff to be published. None of it got published, but that’s not the point. After a few years of sitting around and not doing anything with my writing career, I actually got out there and started things up again. It’s awfully hard for me to get going once I’ve stopped doing something (see: this blog), but by God, I did it.

3. I read a metric-crapton of books. For those of you who use Imperial measurement, a metric-crapton is a lot of books. Every book I read helps me be a better writer. You know what else helps me be a better writer?

2. I started writing stories again. I hadn’t written a new piece of fiction in almost a year and I finally got back up on that horse. But! The biggest piece of news from the previous year?

1. I self-published a book. It’s still there on Amazon and for even cheaper now. You should go buy it if you haven’t done so already. And, if you want it in paperback, then, holy crap, you have that option now too. There’s people out there, right now, reading my work. Bam.

So that’s sounds like a pretty well seized year. Sometimes I’m pretty bummed about how a year went and I’ve been feeling that a little bit the last couple of weeks. But, you know, looking at that list there, I think I can live with how 2011 went. I’m ready for even bigger things next year.

Just…please, no more store closings.


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Filed under Day-to-Day: What's Going On, Events, Releases and New Things

Where did all the bookstores go?

Bookstores, the ones built of brick and mortar anyway, are in serious trouble. The two big heavyweights, Barnes and Noble and Borders, are suffering and they’re struggling to survive.

Given that Amazon.com now sells close to 50% of all book sales in North America, it looks like the only place someone might see Barnes and Noble or Borders in ten years will be online, if at all.

Big name bookstores are looking less and less viable, at least, in their current incarnation.

This really isn’t news for anyone who’s been paying attention. Online bookstores, which cut overhead costs and cut book prices, and the popularity of ereaders are doing their damage. What’s shocking to me is how little emotion I feel about it.

It is sad that these stores are in trouble. I don’t want to see them go out of business, if only for the sake the employees who work there, but that’s about the extent of my emotional involvement. I believe it’s inevitable that the brick-and-mortar megabookstore will cease to exist at some point. Over the next ten years or so, they’ll exist in a very limited capacity, dotting the landscape like aging woolly mammoths.

The bookstores that will survive, I think, are those locally owned, used bookstores. They peddle in wares you can’t so easily get and they offer people the ability to browse in a more visceral way. That might be enough to keep them going.

My apathy comes not from a hatred of books. I love books. I want people to read lots of books, all the time. Society needs books and ideas and the written word to stay healthy. But, to that end, anything that gets people books is a good thing. Anything that makes the process easier and quicker is a good thing. Online bookstores mean you can find what you want quickly and get it (eventually). Ereaders cut that time even shorter.

There are changes, big changes coming to the book selling industry, but those changes are the result of more efficient systems taking their place. It’s not the death of books or the death of bookstores. It’s just the next step in their evolution.

Dylan Charles


Filed under Pop Culturing: Movies, Books, Comic Books and Other Arts