I read a really great article recently about the demise of society in the face of this electronic revolution. What happens when libraries die? None of us think it will happen, but did we think the bookstores would be closing right and left? Even the mega-chains have been set back by the electronic age.
This week, I learned both Borders and Barnes & Noble are closing their State Street locations in Santa Barbara. (Borders will maintain its Goleta location for now). Since the publication of my first book in 2006, every bookstore offering new titles in San Luis Obispo County has closed. Want a new book there? You either have to drive into SLO or order online. My favorite locally owned shop in downtown SLO, The Novel Experience, has struggled to stick with it both faced by the challenge of head-to-head competition with the major chain literally down the block and the internet "bookstore."
In northern Santa Barbara County there are few stores selling new titles, and in Santa Maria, there are none. So if we want to own a new book where do we go? Online or wait 'til we can get to The Big City to visit a real bookstore.
We still have our libraries, though! THANK HEAVENS! We couldn't afford to BUY all the books these girls can go through. They voracious readers! But with budget cuts and misplaced priorities, how long will they last?
My distributor has asked me to move ahead with revisions and reprinting of "Best Family Adventures: San Luis Obispo County." They move in local bookstores, but, honestly, they sell better in places like Doc Burnstein's, a local ice cream shop, and The Toy Zoo, a local educational supply and toy store.So I think I'll go for it. Maybe I'll even move into the new century and work the e-book version. We shall see.
Meanwhile, here's my assignment for you: whether you've read it before or not, run down to your local LIBRARY and check out a copy of Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451." It's a fast read, and more relevant today than ever. Then support your local library every way you can. Donate your old books to their used books sale (funds from which are used to maintain the stacks). Renew your library card. Talk up the library to friends and family. Write letters in support of library funding to decision makers in your community.
Thanks for reading.