I heard yesterday that our local independent bookstore has closed. This is no surprise, really, as it's been clear for some time that it was struggling. It was never a great browsing store--the fiction selection was small and the new releases shelf tiny--but I used to go in to chat with the owner, to order something I really wanted, to see what the BookSense recommendations were. Even though it cost quite a bit more to buy there instead of from Amazon or in a Barnes & Noble, it seemed worthwhile. In the last several months, though, the owner wasn't able to bring in any new inventory, so visits there began to be kind of pointless. And then the inevitable happened. (I actually went into town Tuesday with the expectation of stopping there to order a book, even though I was going to pay $10 more than the same book would cost on Amazon. Is this really rational? But there was a Closed sign on the door, so it didn't happen.) It's sad to lose this store, and I wish the owner well.
A newspaper story about the closing said our downtown is getting two new bookstores this summer. I doubt that a store selling new titles is in the works, but I wouldn't mind seeing a used bookstore open. From the names of the stores, though, it looks like one will be religious and/or metaphysical (Sacred Circle) and the other hard to tell (Barristers). In the meantime, I can't feel guilty about shopping where I save money.