Read Between the Lines


Pete writes "Wired columnist Tony Long laments the demise of the independent bookseller in this piece : "I can think of no reason why anyone within 10 miles of an actual bookstore would buy a book at Costco or Wal-Mart. Ever. The point is, the corporations and the internet have changed the commercial landscape in this country {ed note: and around the world) and for the worse. Independent booksellers are but one victim of this disturbing trend. Entertainment technology threatens the single-screen movie house and the local music store with extinction. Likewise, your local video rental store is also an endangered species. The corporatization of coffee annihilates small cafes, leaving us with the uniform blandness of Starbucks. The big losers are small merchants of almost every type, and those of us who see mom-and-pop businesses as the backbone of a healthy, vibrant community.""


"I can think of no reason why anyone within 10 miles of an actual bookstore would buy a book at Costco or Wal-Mart. Ever.

Wasn't the last Harry Potter book sold for a lower price at Costco or Wal-Mart? If I want to save money, I'll buy the cheaper product. This guy is just a snob.

Obviously your major consideration is PRICE. The price you pay in dollars and cents.

But did you ever consider what the PRICE of buying books in Wal-Mart or Costco means to our hometowns, our communities? I like a bargain too, but the price of the big-boxes is too big a price to pay for our society.

If that means I'm a snob, sobeit. Wal-Mart is a horribly corrupt company.

Then don't shop there.

That's the same argument the buggy-whip people made. Same with the iron lung manufacturers.

Oddly enough my decision to avoid the local video store has nothing to do with big box stores, but rather the fact that I can get most of the major motion picture releases at my local library. Why pay at all when I can get someting for free? They'll even pull it off the shelf and have it waiting for me behind the counter when I get there.

Now that's just asinine. Your strawman is even more flimsy than usual. Nobody is saying that we should keep buying obsolete products (I didn't see anybody recommend reading papyrus strips instead of books). What they were saying (implicitly) is that if you shop at places that don't contribute anything of substance to the community, and ignore the places that do (where the owner lives in the community, contributes economically and socially to the community, and respects the community he/she does business in), then you will be paying a higher price in long-term costs (when businesses go bankrupt, real wages go down, community life disappears, etc.). Can we think complex thoughts in this society anymore?--Ron

Well said.

It's too hard to think when people are screaming about the end of the world all the time.

Well said indeed.

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