I hate libraries. I'm guessing my dislike stems from all of the late fees I had to pay in my youth. On Saturday my dad gave me my allowance and on Tuesday I passed it off to the white haired woman behind the circulation desk at the library. I'm not sure of the total amount I paid over time. But my mother jokes I single handedly funded the Elkins Park Free Library renovation of 1982.
For as much as I detest libraries, the awkward silence and musty smell, I adore bookstores. When I'm traveling, I love to wander around local shops. Tall wooden shelves display pressed spines. The shopkeeper readily offers intelligent suggestions. His excitement makes my mouth water, as if I'm watching a movie preview. From Mitchell's in Nantucket to Foyles in London, independent bookstores always make it onto my to-do list.
Here in Philadelphia, I couldn't even name one local bookshop. This leaves me no choice to visit Barnes & Noble and Borders. And truth be told, I like these places too. Meandering through the aisles, an iced skim latte in one hand an my wallet in the other, I pluck interesting books from the shelves, I skim the first page to see if it grabs me.
Many people are claiming the debut of the iPad, following the relative success of other e-readers like the Kindle, will save the publishing industry. From chatter on Morning Joe to articles in Wired and The New Yorker, people question if the introduction of e-readers just might be the boost books have long needed.
I've pondered buying a Kindle. Or at the very least, I strongly hinted to my previous beau, a man who owned not one but two Kindles, that it would be a divine gift for yours truly. Seeing he forgot my last birthday, it's fair to assume he won't be getting me one. Which has led me to strongly consider buying one for myself.
You know what holds me back? Not the cost. The Kindle seems to be priced quite nicely considering it saves me from lugging ten books on my random adventures. Not the lack of paper. And I'm fine reading online. After testing out a friend's Kindle, I'm more than comfortable with the layout and lighting. But if I buy books online, what will happen to bookstores? Right. That's when I close the Amazon website and put it off for another day.