Speak Out: Do You Still Shop At Bookstores?

Barnes & Noble has announced poor holiday sales, according to published reports.

Is the age of the bookstore over?

That’s a question some are asking after Borders shut its doors nationwide, including the location in Columbia, and Barnes & Noble recently announced poor holiday sales, including declines in sales of its e-reader, the Nook tablet, The New York Times reported.

A failed Barnes & Noble could create nearly a dozen vacancies in Maryland, including stores in Ellicott City, Frederick and Pikesville, although company representatives told the Baltimore Business Journal in November it planned to maintain a “strong Baltimore presence,” the publication reported.

The region has also seen its exodus of smaller, independently owned bookstores.

In May of 2012, Eldersburg Patch reported the closing of one of Carroll County’s last independent bookstores: The Little Professor Book Store, which had been open for 35 years.

The closing of The Little Professor Book Store followed the closings of other bookstores in Carroll County, including Locust Books in Westminster and Waldenbooks in TownMall, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Meanwhile, e-readers have gained popularity.

A program in Howard County libraries that lends out Nook e-readers had a line of more than 500 waiting to check out the device eight months after its inception, reported Columbia Patch in July of 2011.

In January of 2012, CNN reported that the number of adults who owned tablets “increased from 10% in mid-December to 19% in early January.”

Tell us in story comments: Do you still like to shop at bookstores? Or have you completely made the switch to e-readers?

See related links:

Nook E-Readers In Demand From Howard County Libraries

Today is Last Full Day For Columbia Crossing Borders

Barnes & Noble Faces Steep Challenge as Holiday Nook Sales Decline

Ownership of tablets, e-readers almost doubles in one month

Lisa Rossi (Editor) January 09, 2013 at 08:47 PM
One thought I had while I was writing this post: I used to hang out in the Georgetown Barnes & Noble a lot when I was an intern in D.C. in the early 2000s. When I went back there recently, I noticed it was gone, and then I read about its closing here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-buzz/post/georgetown-barnes-and-noble-to-close-by-end-of-2011/2011/08/29/gIQAN8bQnJ_blog.html I'll be interested to see how things shake out...
Frank in Elkridge January 09, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Only at discount stores like BAM. Instant gratification on a sale item is nice once in a while. I shop and buy books mostly on Amazon though. Someday we will all have e-readers on the smartphones or tablets. Unfortunately, it's inevitable that most storefronts will just become "showrooms" for Amazon eventually. If the prices are right and the experience is not depressing perhaps that won't be so bad?
Catherine Gillbee January 10, 2013 at 12:51 AM
Oh H.R. Pufnstuf, the library is so important to me because the books are FREE! I really can't afford the purchase price of the quantity of books I read. When my daughter was little we would come home from the library with tote bags full of expensive hardback children's picture books. I still mourn the loss of Border's and would really miss browsing in B&N. I'm a little sad to see all the toys in B&N instead of books, but understand they need to try different strategies to stay in business.
MG42 January 10, 2013 at 02:28 AM
The books aren't free brainiac, taxpayers are paying for them. Why should I have to subsidize books that you're unwilling or unable to pay for? Do you think you're the queen or something? I'll bet you have plenty of money to buy your daughter a smart phone that she has her head glued to. You should be ashamed of your entitled attitude, seriously
Frank in Elkridge January 10, 2013 at 07:10 AM
Howard County is considered to have the best library system in the U.S, for a system of it's size. I agree with that. The librarians, programs, media, books, and facilities are the best that I've experienced anywhere considerng the relatively small size of the system. My family considers our tax money to be well spent on the Howard County libraries. If libraries go the way of bookstores and become "showrooms" too, I'm sure that Howard County libraries will still be the best, even in that format. Libraries are not just store rooms for books. They help teach important skills and love of reading and learning as well. Not to mention providing a clean, quiet, well lit place for study for many kids who don't have such a place where they live.
MG42 January 10, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Frank, I have a serious question: how much would you be willing to pay per month to use the library if it were run as a private business. In my experience, everyone loves the library as long as someone else is paying for it. All of these bookstores are going under. Has the library updated any usage stats, number of unique users, etc?
Maia January 10, 2013 at 12:59 PM
I did a lot of holiday shopping at B&N and take my kid their often to read, play and have a snack. Most of my friends kids have enough toys so we buy them books or one of the science experiment toys, which are great learning tools and the kids love. I think it's important for young kids to hold a book in their hands instead of using a tablet.
Karann January 10, 2013 at 01:36 PM
I agree. Dadelous is also a great bookstore
BosoxBrent January 10, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Well don't worry Monica...even if the bookstores go under, our libraries aren't going anywhere. Just step into any of the HoCo Libraries any time that they are open and they are swamped. In fact the other day I took my daughter to the Play Partners event in Elkridge and it was absolutely packed. Those who never stepped foot in a library (usually because they are intimidated by the thought of reading anything more than People magazine or too busy to leave their full time jobs as being trolls harassing people on the internet) wouldn't see that the library is more than just a collection of books. It's a very valuable resource and I'm glad we have one of the best systems in the country. It puts a big smile on my face knowing that tax dollars continue to flow into this wonderful system while all the library haters can't do a damn thing about it.
Anne Gonnella January 10, 2013 at 02:18 PM
One of the great things about our society is that we provide everyone the opportunity to read, even if they can't afford books. I hope that doesn't change. What will need to change for bookstores and libraries alike is the operating model. Libraries are already catching on -they are community centers, not just lending libraries. Bookstores - pay attention.
MG42 January 10, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Yes, the private sector needs to look to the government for business model guidance. You're more laughs than a barrel of monkeys! If anything you will libraries will look to bookstores and start to adopt cafes, etc. Regardless, they're both ultimately doomed. The market has spoken.
Skye Anderson January 10, 2013 at 04:12 PM
I need lilbraries for certain types of books. I also need used-book stores and bookstores. I am still reeling from the closing of Borders and B/N has a parking problem (E. City). I use Amazon and a specialty site to see what's new. I suppose reviewing about 50 books a year gently requires me to use all sources. I also have authors and publishers send me books for review. OTOH, libraries are more like media centers than bookhomes nowaday and some (in schools) are even called that! And, finally, I disagree that libraries are quiet - I have even had to ask librarians to lower their voice!
Skye Anderson January 10, 2013 at 04:13 PM
MG42 January 10, 2013 at 05:25 PM
A lot of people are saying they take their kids to the library to read books. BosoxBrent- based your charming profile pic you seem like the type of dude who has all the money in the world for the latest microbrew, but you need me to subsidize your kid's books. Guess what: kids are very expensive. I don't know why parents are the ones who somehow fail to grasp this. Just because I'm smarter with my "obligations" doesn't mean you get to pick my pocket to pay for your kids.
Steve January 10, 2013 at 05:30 PM
We go to the library every week or so. Bookstores maybe once a month. If you have a Kindle Baltimore County allows you to download books for free. Why buy them?
Karen Kohnen January 10, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Despite what many think not everyone in Howard County can afford iPads, Nooks or Kindles. My family utilizes and appreciates the books and DVDs available at our local library. The library allows me to read a newly released book for free which would normally cost a minimum of 15.00.
MG42 January 10, 2013 at 06:28 PM
Well, it would probably be cheaper for Howard County to give everyone a voucher for a "free" iPad than to spend hundreds of millions of dollars building and maintaining libaries (not that I'm suggesting this). And I'm sure in 99% of the cases of people who truly can't afford an iPad, they'd take the iPad all day long over having access to the lame public libraries.
AJ January 10, 2013 at 07:21 PM
We get it Pufnstuf, you don't like libraries. Wow! Can not believe you think that exposure to books/literature/knowledge is a waste of time and resources. Happy to hear that you have enough personal resources to purchase and read the millions of publications out there. Maybe you could broaden your horizons by visiting a library once in a while, the internet does not have all the answers. That said I couldn't agree more that children need to be exposed to books as much as possible and libraries offer a diverse selection to do so!
MG42 January 10, 2013 at 08:14 PM
Here we go again. It's for the childrenz! I sure do wish parents could afford to pay for their kids themselves. Parents have to be the biggest deadbeats in all of society.
AJ January 10, 2013 at 08:40 PM
What does exposing your children to the library/books have to do with being a deadbeat or not being able to afford to raise a child??? If you think that is majority of people borrowing books, I suggest you visit your local library and look around. Since you have no issues throwing out insults, I truly hope you are not a parent with your narrow minded views.
MG42 January 10, 2013 at 09:35 PM
Lots of people are justifying the public subsidy of libaries with the "it's for the childrenz!" argument. That's not a valid reason to subsidize libraries. Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for your kids' books. They get a free public school education, be happy with that.
AJ January 10, 2013 at 09:52 PM
It is not just about the kids which you seem to be hung up on. Enjoy your broken record.
MG42 January 10, 2013 at 10:01 PM
I never said it was just about kids. You're using emotion and not logic. Shocker!
AJ January 10, 2013 at 10:17 PM
I never did either, Mr Logic...Your repeated scholarly quote of "It's for the childrenz!" could have fooled me....
Urdude January 17, 2013 at 12:20 AM
At big name bookstores I always went right to the bargain bins. Daedalus and Second Edition are where I go. Library not so much. They usually don't have what I want. They have given over too much space to computers and DVDs for the indigent in our community. Subsequently it's no longer quiet nor pleasant to be in there. Welfare.
IT Fed January 24, 2013 at 02:48 PM
You seem to have an extreme dislike for libraries and bookstores and it is unfortunate for you. I love libraries and try to visit the local Barnes & Nobles as often as I can. I have a tablet but I love holding a paper book in my hands and turning the pages. I have a personal library of a couple hundred books and I don't plan on trading them for e-versions.
IT Fed January 24, 2013 at 02:52 PM
Pufinstuf, the 'free public school education' is also subsidized by taxes, so your argument is not valid.
Angela Morales March 05, 2013 at 01:43 PM
Barnes and Nobles needs to expand their coffee shop and turn their facilities into coffee and dessert stores with books as a side business. Look at Starbucks, people go there to get there coffee, wifi, and to sit and read. Barnes and Nobles needs to fit the gap of providing people a place to come and read, while they drink Barnes and Noble coffee and eat their desserts. Starbucks really does not have space to accommodate all the people who want to drink coffee, but don't want to run out of the store once they pay for their drink. Be better than Starbucks, I say.
Stephen C. Dapson March 06, 2013 at 01:55 AM
Yes, I still shop in bookstores. Many books and magazines I'm interested in are not available electronically. Even though I am handicapped and cannot walk well, I still go into Barnes and Noble in Ellicott City on a regular basis as well as going to stores that sell books and magazines along with their other merchandise. I also have a PhD. and that may account for my habits!


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