From The New York Daily News:
A girl about 5 years old sits on the floor with Dr. Seuss. A teenage boy in a hoodie checks out the young-adult fiction. A white-haired man flips through a military history.
They’re all visiting the Barnes & Noble on Austin Street in Forest Hills, Queens, on a recent Saturday afternoon. And right now the joint is jumping. Eleven customers stand on line, three cashiers at the ready.
But seeing is deceiving, as James Joyce wrote. For soon this bookstore, at this location since 1995 and all of three blocks from where I live, will close shop. The rent is going to triple, and Target will move in. A petition to save the store, signed by 5,700 local residents, went for naught.
. . . .
Last year, Barnes & Noble closed its branch in Fresh Meadows, and it will do the same with its Bayside store this year. That will leave the chain unrepresented in Queens, home to 2.3 million people and the most ethnically diverse place on the planet.
Yes, this city has a great library system, granting New York natives and immigrants alike easy access to literally tons of literature, not to mention a vast inventory of music and other culture, all for free.
But sometimes you want to own a book, to claim it as yours alone rather than share it, to take it home and put it on your night table and keep it for as long as you wish.
. . . .
[B]ooks are supposed to be different from toaster ovens. Books are meant to be cradled in your hand. To have pages you can turn with your fingertips. To have words printed in ink. We often visit bookstores in a quest for stories, insights, the truth.
Which is why, in France, lawmakers have barred discount-crazy online retailers from killing brick-and-mortar competitors. You can say that law is anti-Amazon — but really it’s pro-bookstore.
Link to the rest at The New York Daily News and thanks to Nate for the tip.