I’m not sure if you read the news or not, but Amazon just opened an actual brick and mortar bookstore. I don’t mean Amazon (the River) or Amazon (the Marvel Supervillain). I mean Amazon (the online retailer that some people blame for the demise of actual brick and mortar bookstores).
They gobbled something up only to regurgitate. Rather disorderly, I think.
Says the Seattle Times: “There is some irony in Amazon’s opening a physical store. For years, it could undercut physical retailers on price because it didn’t have brick-and-mortar locations. But those stores offered something Amazon couldn’t: the instant gratification of owning an item the second it was purchased, as well as the personal touch of a knowledgeable sales clerk.”
It’s like they hit the binary limit of digital lossless strategy and took it to the next level. Digital covers every base but instant transport technology. So they took it a step farther and created an actual instant gratification site. No, not a web site. Just a site which happens to be the site of an old Sushi restaurant in Seattle. No dot-com at the end.
We use Amazon occasionally, but I do my best to support our local bookstores in Kalamazoo: Kazoo Books, Bicentennial Bookshop (in the Vine Neighborhood) Bookbug, and the Friends Library Bookstore. I even hit Barnes and Noble in Portage, wanting desperately to be able to look at and handle books before I purchase them.
But it’s the smell. The smell of books. Even better is the smell of books and coffee. As it turns out, we’re tactile creatures who sometimes choose using all our senses over the virtue of convenience. Just as a book transports you to places and ideas, so the smell of books transports you to books in the first place. My online experience smells the same no matter what site I’m visiting, which kinda smells like whatever room I’m in at the time.
Can you imagine the Amazon corporate meeting where someone said “we totally forgot about the nostril effect!” or “people are getting tired of screens” or “sometimes you do judge a book by its cover and the feel in your hands.” True, true, and true.
My idea: support your local bookstore so that they stay open. Appreciate Amazon for what it is. Appreciate Bookstores for what they are. Keep reading, and be willing to sacrifice convenience for tangibility.