Thursday, December 8, 2011

Books @ Union Station

I was downtown at Union Station the other day and was surprised to see that Barnes & Noble is still open.  Now that Borders has closed and the Barnes & Noble store in Georgetown has been bought by Nike, I am always happy to see a book store open and bustling with customers. 

It's such a luxury to browse in a book store.  To go from table to table and shelf to shelf, to look at the covers of the books, pick them up, read through them and just feel the weight of the book in your hands is to get lost in your imagination.  I find books to be comforting when they reveal new information to me, when I can escape in them and when they help me understand something that I have been trying to wrap my brain around.

Amazon is very convenient but it's just not the same.  When you're hanging out in a book store you see books you've already read and enjoyed and you also think about how much work went into writing them; at least I do.  Others may  think that books are work and not pleasure but I think that means they just aren't reading the right books.  Let's be honest, then there are some books that in a million years I can't figure out how they got published.  But that's a different story.

I'm afraid the book store as a store will no longer exist in a few years and that will be very sad.  As a place to sell books, Union Station is the perfect location for a bookstore because people are hopping onto trains everywhere and it is also a Metro stop.  Even though the chains don't seem to be staying afloat in this economy, there are two independent bookstores in my area, Politics & Prose and Kramer Books, and they seem to be doing very well.  I'm crossing my fingers that it stays that way.

I used to think that if you saw a store with people inside buying merchandise that it was a good sign.  I no longer think that because it doesn't really mean anything other than there are people in the store while you are looking at it.  The corporate offices of the stores you are in could be literally selling the store out, merging with another store or simply making really bad financial decisions.

When in doubt of what to buy someone, always buy a book!

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