There is something salvific feeling about every bookstore I’ve ever entered. I feel born again every time I darken its doors on a java-filled Saturday morning.
I don’t use spiritual language here to be blasphemous. The redemptive feeling I get from a bookstore comes from a time when this place served as my church-away-from-church.
There was a span of roughly a couple years in my life where I did some “soul searching,” so to speak, and during this phase I spent many a Sunday morning having “church” in the cafe of my local Barnes & Noble.
It was here I discovered (and rediscovered) authors like Donald Miller, Dallas Willard, Brennan Manning, and John Piper. It was here that God spoke to me in the sanctuary of Colombian beans and french pressed beverage, where He reminded me of my need for Him and His passion for the Church.
So when I walk in a bookstore these days and see tumble weeds rolling around to the tune of the Gunsmoke soundtrack, I’m not going to lie, I get a little bit sentimental.
The truth is, Bookstore, I’m not ready for you to pass just yet. Yeah, Kindles and Nooks are great, but there’s something about a physical bookstore you can’t replace with the latest tablet. For instance…
Bookstores are an escape. I know I can download a book on a Kindle in under a minute without ever having to disrupt the rhythm of my day… but in a way, that’s the problem. The bookstore is a place where I can get away, turn my attention to new titles and fresh ideas, and get lost in something that my Google task list can’t offer.
Bookstores don’t charge you to sit and read. Sure, they probably don’t base their business model around the guy who buys a cup of coffee and catches up on his reading list on the house while he visits, but they haven’t kicked me out yet.
Bookstores often come equipped with a coffee shop. Obviously, this facet alone makes anything better. Until an e-reader tablet can pour me a large cup of dark roast, it will continue being inferior to the bookstore.
Bookstores enable community. Again, a Kindle is great for simplicity’s sake, but it can’t host a poetry reading, a book-signing, or provide a venue for catching up with old friends. Something about being inside of a bookstore makes conversation come naturally- conversations that can move past the weather and what Beyonce wore to the Grammys.
So next time you pass by one of those “big buildings with all those paper square-things where people used to go before the internet,” stop in and tell them to keep on kicking and hang tough. I’m not letting go yet… just don’t think I’m ready.
What are some reasons you don’t want the bookstore to breathe its last?