Saturday, September 10, 2005

Reader’s Oasis: The Last Chapter

You may have missed the announcement buried in Thursday’s Business section of the Star: After five years one of Tucson’s few remaining independent bookstores is closing. In the end it was unable to compete with the giant bookstore chains or with the trend to on-line book selling.

Reader’s Oasis made a special effort to display and sell the books of local authors but what made it special for me was that its people were book people, not simply clerks who rang up a sale.

The Oasis was truly that, a green place in the marketing desert where you went if you couldn’t buy a book without holding it first, and where conversation about books always led to the suggestion of something else you were sure to enjoy.

The sales paradigm in the book business is changing and I suppose my kicking at the net isn’t going to stop the trend. Go on line, order the book, have it delivered to your door. The days of going to a bookstore in the same spirit that one went to a movie, or the theatre, as an entertainment in itself, are gone, or soon will be.

What a pity.

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