Amazon will open a physical bookstore in Manhattan this year, and this was the lead story in last week’s Book Riot podcast as hosts, Rebecca and Jeff, meandered through some observations and speculations regarding Amazon’s brick and mortar business strategy. This is how I learned that there is an Amazon bookstore already open in Portland (Washington Square). From what I can tell, it appears to be pretty much a regular chain-style bookstore (Is chain-style a thing?) – nothing particularly unique or special. Except….Amazon. So that makes it sort of weird. And I’m mildly curious and would like to see. But mostly because I. Like. Bookstores.
Last weekend David needed to run errands and asked if I wanted to come along. Errands are a mixed bag for me in these days because I DO want to get out and see something beyond my window view, but it’s also a lot of work navigating crutches and a tender ankle through the snow and ice. David’s errands included a stop at the coffee shop and he further sweetened the deal with an offer to stop at Barnes and Noble too. That worked.
Barnes and Noble was our last stop I was tired by the time we parked by the front door (it’s a good season to have a handicap parking pass!) and I carefully crunched my way into the store. Swinging my body through my crutches, I paused at the first display and took a deep breath. I turned to David and confirmed the fact, “I. Like. Bookstores.” Like stepping into an old school gym. Stepping into a bookstore is to come home.
Jeff and Rebecca’s conversation about the Amazon bookstore raised some interesting thoughts on the nature and purpose of a physical bookstore and Jeff commented,“The internet is my bookstore in terms of finding out about stuff. I can go buy it wherever but there is no selection like the internet for finding out about books and browsing books.” How true this is! Tuned to the world of books and reading, I get book reviews and recommendations from podcasts and blogs and twitter and friends/family and I can buy any of these online. But when I walk into a bookstore I actually get to hold the book before I buy it. I get to feel the weight of it in my hands and consider its worth. But, truth told, I typically do not buy books if I can get them from the library – unless I expect to return to it again and again. A favorite author or a collection of poetry or perhaps a reference book.
Speaking of libraries and book buying……
I usually browse the internet via Safari because its Reading List feature fits my workflow, but last week I read a review of this Library Extension for Amazon that works on Chrome and I was intrigued. It’s designed to check your local library catalog as you browse books on Amazon and it displays the library availability right there on the same page. I have been trying it out and it’s pretty cool – minimizing the steps that I so frequently take. (Never mind that I usually by books at Barnes and Noble these days – for bunches of reasons, shipping speed being the most self-serving.)
Other links to stuff I’ve been thinking about this week –
(Besides this awesome sweater collection)
“All talk, talk talk – no action or results” Trump/Lewis have been the headline of Twitter this weekend and its been reported hat tweets mentioning @RepJohnLewis peaked at 3,000/minute on Saturday. All the noise inspired me to go back and listen to this Krista Tippet/John Lewis OnBeing interview:The Art & Discipline of Nonviolence.
This PewResearch report on the religious affiliations of our 114th Congress states that 91.8% of our Congress identifies as Christian. I am not sure what that means exactly, but I don’t think it is good.
Phillip Yancey drills down on some of this in his essay, In the Age of Trump, What Will Evangelicalism Become? “The apostle Paul used these words to describe the characteristics of a true Christian: humility, charity, joy, peace, gentleness, forbearance, patience, goodness, self-control—words in short supply last election year.”
Finally this. Always this.