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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Local Booksellers

Once upon a time, there was an awesome bookstore called Waldenbooks. They had a small store in my mall and I would go there on the days books were released and buy everything I had written on my To Be Bought list. The manager and the clerks knew me by name and I would talk books with them.

Then my bookstore closed, but there was another Waldenbooks at another nearby mall. I started shopping there. This store was bigger, but it didn't take long before they knew my name there, too. In fact, if they didn't have a chance to unpack the new books yet when I showed up to buy them, they would let me go through the boxes to find the titles I wanted to buy. Like I said, they were awesome.

They would even save books for me that came in while I was on vacation so that I didn't miss out on my favorite authors. There might not be a discount, but there were benefits that outweighed the extra cost.

And then things began to change. They started hiring people who didn't know anything about books. They could be selling burgers or shoes or anything. There were no more conversations with salespeople who loved books as much as I did. The perks went away too, like saving books for me or letting me go through the boxes.

Then this bookstore closed too. My sadness would have been greater except I felt as if what I'd loved about the store had been dying for a while.

I tried other stores, but they were big and impersonal. I started buying books online and then I switched to ebooks after the Kindle came out. I never thought I'd rather read on screen, but I do now. I also like the instant gratification of having whatever I want to read in seconds.

But I miss Waldenbooks and I wish they were still around. That store and the people who worked there were special.