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I remember when Borders went out of business years ago. It was one of my favorite stores ever, and I had many happy memories there. There was (and still is) something so relaxing about being able to go to a place that sells shiny new books and magazines, where you can go alone or with a friend and get a coffee and a pastry and walk around or sit and chill with all that wonderful art surrounding you. So losing it was definitely a bummer.
Luckily for me, I lived in a big city, so we at least still had Barnes & Noble. I preferred Borders, but B&N would do as an okay replacement, even if it was located at our busy mall.
Fast-forward to now, and it looks as if B&N is barely holding on. I'm getting more and more coupons in the mail from B&N, which is exactly what happened with Borders before they went kaput. I have also been following the news and have read about the mass lay-offs and the tacky way they have been done, and also how their most recent quarter was disappointing. Supposedly they're working on some ways to stay afloat, but who knows if they'll be able to last much longer.
The problem may be the price of their books. It seems almost everyone is purchasing cheaper books via Amazon these days. I have been guilty of shopping at B&N, only to get ideas for things to read and then buying them on Amazon later. I don't do that anymore because I am trying to support the store, as it seems their days are numbered, but I'm just one out of millions of people who probably buy primarily from Amazon.
Another reason the store might not be doing well: people don't seem to be reading as much anymore.
In an age of constant data overload where we compulsively spend all our free time reading articles and social media posts on our computers and phones, it's not surprising that people don't have time for books anymore. Also throw in Netflix, which releases a binge-worthy new show every five minutes, and everyone's free time runs out with no room for reading novels or short story collections.
But there are many reasons why we should resist the urge to spend all our spare time binge-watching shows or mindlessly scrolling the web, and why we should read a book instead. According to an article on inc.com, there are nine ways that reading fiction can actually make you a happier and more person - and who doesn't want to be happier in an age where stress is king? I'll list the ways below, but if you want more details on the studies that produced the results, you can read the article --> here <--
Okay, here they are:
1) Reading creates empathy and understanding in readers.
2) Reading is a great way to combat stress.
3) People who read regularly actually sleep better.
4) Readers see improved interpersonal relationships.
5) Older readers remain sharper mentally.
6) Reading creates open-mindedness.
7) Reading (specifically fiction) increases vocabulary.
8) Readers are more creative people.
9) Reading gives you pleasure.
I hope that bookstores don't completely go away because I love the physical experience of being in a bookstore; however, as technology advances, and we see more and more e-books, we may have to say goodbye to most of our old-fashioned bookstores. Does that mean e-books are evil? Actually, no, I don't think so at all.
I don't think there's anything wrong with reading e-books on electronic devices. In fact, if more readers could be open to the benefits of digital books, it might even help out the planet! E-books are super convenient (you don't even have to leave your couch to buy one), many are cheaper than physical books, and they aren't as destructive on the environment as paper books. As technology has advanced, the screens are easy on the eyes and battery life is a lot longer than it used to be. And one more thing: it saves space! You can carry an entire library on one tablet!
But whether you're a paper book reader, an e-book reader, or both, we should be mindful about making time for books in any format. If the studies are correct, (and I believe they are from personal experience as a daily reader), we will all be better off for it.
Do you still make time to read? Do you find it gives you any of the benefits mentioned above? As always, feel free to leave a comment!
Speaking of reading, have you browsed my books at www.scarlettknight.com? And thanks so much for stopping by!