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What? Stop Buying Books? Never!


"I should stop buying books."

A friend of mine, Mo, who is a big physical-book fan in the way that I am (as in, he enjoys scanning a bookcase full of books, seeing the different books, pulling one off the shelf, and reading it, as I had with books like Candide and The Mysterious Island), commented to me last week that he worries his kid won't have the joy of looking at bookcases and finding a book to read just by pulling it off the shelf, what with digital books and the like. She won't be able to skim the titles, see the binding, feel the book in her hands, smell the scents of the book, notice the typography and layout, and enjoy the physical sensation of the books. A dying experience with the coming of digital libraries and such.

He lamented about it, then commented that maybe he should stop buying so many books, what with the pile of books he has currently unread.


I responded, as I do with every person who voices this horrifying thought, "Purchasing a book, even if that book is never read, signals to the publisher that this book is worthy. You, as a consumer, want this type of book to exist. It tells the publisher, 'Please continue to provide books of this nature.'"

A book does not have to be read to have fulfilled its purpose.

He smiled. I hope his stress was reduced by this insight.


This is why we go to a physical Barnes and Noble. Even though I can get all of the same books at Amazon (and many more), you can't get the feel of long shelves of books, the implicit demand for quiet that books bring to the fore, the kids books/play area, bargain bin books, or legal stimulants and tasty treats. We like to encourage the survival of physical books and the places that sell them. Tattered Cover is the local bookstore of choice here in Denver, but the Barnes and Noble is still a place of happiness. One of the sadder moments in the development of our neighborhood was when the Borders at Northfields closed. They replaced it with a Toby Keith's restaurant.

Sigh. Everyone knows that Jim and Nick's BBQ is way better.

I promptly bought more books, of the physical kind. :)

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