The NY Times reported yesterday that the number of bookstores in NY City has declined 30% over the past decade, due largely to the sharp increase in rents. As the city has become more and more the enclave of the rich, small businesses can't survive with the rapid rise in rents for store space.
This is affecting even the big chains like Barnes and Noble, which recently closed it's flagship store at 18th Street. Fifth Avenue, once called "book row," is nearly devoid of bookstores despite the continued presence of some of the biggest publishers in the world.
The reporter focuses on rising costs but the continuing popularity of e-books is taking it's toll as well. All across America, independent bookstores are resorting to selling non-book items to keep their doors open. It appears we are fast approaching the day when hanging out at a bookstore or shop is quickly coming to an end. Some of us remember record stores with listening booths, but they dried up with the advent of cassette tapes and then CDs and digital downloads. Even video stores, news stands and magazine shops are disappearing from the landscape.
So the question to ask is, at what cost do we embrace the new digital media technology? Will future generations even know the difference or even care? Should we care today, or are we protesting inevitable change?
The original NYT article can be found at: