Sunday, April 4, 2021

Lost by a nose.

    I miss the smell of books. It used to be I could walk into any one of a number of bookstores in my area and breathe in the smell of ink or paper or glue or dust or whatever it is that gives bookstores that distinctive smell. They were all different, I suppose, but there was something in the way they touched the nose that they shared.
    Most of those bookstores—along with their counterparts all across the country—are gone now. A few are victims of the recent and ongoing pandemic. Some lost out by being undersold once too often by online predators. And some were done in by the so-called big-box category killers that took over the market in years past, aided by business practices since declared illegal.
    The most venomous of those is still around and, in many places, is the only seller of new books still standing. Visiting those stores just isn’t the same, somehow. And they don’t smell right—they smell like coffee, rather than books.
    There are still some bookstores that smell like bookstores are supposed to smell, but there are fewer of them all the time, and they are increasingly farther between.
    I look forward to my next visit, spending time sniffing out some good books.



  1. A sad state of affairs if you me, Rod. You managed to take me back to the good old days. I remember one particular book shop, a two-story home transformed into a series of reading rooms. Plenty of cushy chairs and couches. And, the owners didn't care how long you spent there or whether you made a purchase. (I'm sure they would have liked if you did, but no pressure of visitors to do anything but be respectful and enjoy whatever time you chose to spend there). Another place I miss is B Dalton. The small store where I lived was a delight to visit. Everyone who owned, managed, or worked there were passionate readers, which put them in a position to recommend particular favorites of theirs. In some cases, they''d get an idea of what the customer liked and then recommend something completely different. In my own case, they never went wrong encouraging me to get out of my comfort zone in terms of genre. Ah, magic times for sure. Thanks!

    1. Those were the days, Tom. Algorithms can't recommend books nearly as well as people who read.