post off: could you live without a bookstore?


Could you live in Laredo? I couldn’t. Don’t get me wrong — it looks like a beautiful city. But hearing on the news that the town’s only bookstore closed January 16 — leaving the nearest one 150 miles away — got me thinking, first, about the number of bookstores that I’ve seen come and go from my area in the last couple of years (three, at least). And second, about the fact that, as much as I love online convenience, I still love brick and mortar bookstores. For me, it’s both the quiet of the store and the sheer number of shelves there to browse through. How close (or far) is your nearest bookstore? Could you live without it? Why or why not? — Sarah L.

From our partners

That would make me so sad, I love afternoons spent browsing at the bookstore!

I feel like such a minority sometimes. I hardly read books at all. I might read 2 a year. Obviously, this makes me a bit biased but I don’t care in the least bit about bookstores. The books I do read are typically gifts from my Amazon wishlist that I receive for Christmas from my family. Currently, I’m reading an Einstein Biography and I have “The Last Symbol” on deck. I started the biography on Christmas and am already a cool 30 pages into it 2 months later ;p In the long term, physical media will become a less encountered thing; the closing of book stores is a sign of the times. Remember record and cd shops?

Great blog by the way!

Frankly, I can’t remember when I was last IN a bookstore. Oh. Yes. To get a coffee actually. Didn’t even stop to look at the books. So I guess that would be a resounding, Yes! I can live without one.

Now if you’d asked about a library?
WHOLE other kettle o’fish! :)


Luckily I’ve worked in a bookstore for 13+ years. I can’t even imagine what my life would be like without instant access to books, music, movies, magazines, etc. I am truly sad for the people of this town esp. the children.

Could not live w/out a bookstore but they are closing right and left.


I love books, so I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit this, but yes. Between, my local library (and their fantastic audio book website) and, I’m all set.

I am lucky, living in NY. Despite my love of Amazon (I usually buy used) I still find myself spending hours trolling the aisles of small speciality stores..there should be a law that every town have at least one book store, especially for those books previously loved.

I have lived in places with no bookstore, but I couldn’t live in someplace without at least a good public library. My decision to move to Portland (Oregon) five years ago was not based on the book shopping opportunities, but I count my lucky stars all the time – Powells Books is a wonderful place, and their main store (a whole city block!) is just on the other side of the city, an easy transit hop away.

I grew up in a town with a great public library system and several small bookstores within walking distance. I’m like Sweetchic–I love going to bookstores and it would be sad to live someplace where they didn’t have any.


I did for many years, but it was dreadful. I had to drive such a long way just to find a book store and browse and buy.

Sandy Green

I love the library even more than I love book stores… all of those shelves of books, books, books and all for “free-use”… and never the disappointment of having purchased a book that turned out to be less than anticipated! Yep… I’d rather put my money into the public library… where even those without $$$ can enjoy a broad spectrum of literature. I am within 2 miles of a fantastic public library and within 5 miles of 3 new and two used book stores… I’m blessed!


I am lucky to live in the Los Angeles area which has an excellent library system so that I can reserve books online and they are sent from whatever library in LA county to my library for me to pick up. This includes DVDs, VHS, books on tape, comics, whatever, at no cost. And if I like a book enough to want to own it, I order it through Amazon.

I also frequent a couple of used bookstores in the area, and thrift stores are great for books.

I only go to book stores for magazines or to buy someone else a gift. I try to go to independent book stores rather than chains. Otherwise, I go thru Amazon, which is usually cheaper than a brick and mortar store.

I love bookstores. If just to browse to know what book I should read next. While I admit, for personal use most of my books I buy used online, most of my books that I buy new I buy as gifts from bookstores and we need them!


I’m not allowed to buy anymore books. My bookcases are overflowing. So I don’t need a bookstore per se. I use the library. However, I need a good library to live happily and I suspect that a town that couldn’t support a bookstore would be unlikely to have a good library.

I wanted to cry when the used bookstore two minutes from us closed. Now it’s a 20 minute drive to the Borders that is connected to the mall and horribly overpriced, which means that we do most of our book shopping on Amazon. But there’s just something about being able to browse through the books in person.

shelterrific » Blog Archive » five things we learned last week

[…] 1) Bookstores you could live without. Books, on the other hand… Jen Worden says: “Frankly, I can’t remember when I was last IN a bookstore. Oh. Yes. To get a coffee actually. Didn’t even stop to look at the books. So I guess that would be a resounding, Yes! I can live without one. Now if you’d asked about a library? WHOLE other kettle o’ fish!” Could you live without a bookstore? […]

Gomushin Girl

The thing about browsing a brick and mortar store is that you’ll find things you’d never find through an online store’s suggestion list. And having real staff you can talk to is so important – maybe you can’t remember anything more than the basic outline of a mystery plot, but it’s enough for them to identify the author and title. Or you know you like a particular kind of fantasy book, and they can suggest something similar but in a different genre or by a different author. I’ve found some amazing books (particularly older ones) by just browsing the shelves on a rainy day that I never would have been able to pick up on Amazon. Also, if the condition of the book matters, and particularly with older used books, being able to pick it up and examine it is much more useful than relying on the very casual evaluations provided on most sites.