1sunfight’s Weblog

November 30, 2008

The End of an Era

Filed under: Daily Observations,Economics,Uncategorized — Julie P @ 10:15 pm
Tags: , ,

books1Yesterday, starved for a good book to read, I drove off to my favorite bookstore. It was ideally situated between two universities making it the dumping ground of their intellectualism. I loved that bookstore. It was an enchanting place, with stacks of books everywhere, shelves that went from the floor to the ceiling stuffed with books of all kinds. There were ladders to help a person reach the highest shelves, and stepping stools for the shelves just out of reach. I used to go in there and perch myself precariously either on a stepping stool or one of the ladders. It was at this bookstore where I found the complete works of Simone de Beauvior including her works of fiction. Yesterday I found this Atlanta landmark gone. I stood there in the cold, pouring rain peering through the plate glass window. The place was completely vacant, not a book, magazine, or soul in sight; it was as if the bookstore never existed. I felt like I lost a friend. I will never find those rare books that one can find only in places like that.

Deep sigh. I drove off to Barnes and Noble, a fine bookstore chain, but it’s not “Bookstore” (that was the name of that place). Barnes and Nobles is pleasant, but so corporate. I will have to get used to it, because even Oxford Books is long gone, another Atlanta legend in bookstores. It was such a unique bookstore, it catered to everyone, their likes, and the rarities; whatever you wanted it was there and if it was not they would get it for you. People would drive from surrounding states to shop there. It was the first of its kind; you could select a book, read some of it before you bought it. Inside the bookstore you could find people either sitting cross legged in an aisle, or on one of the many stairs that were there. But, what helped to make Oxford Books endearing was the coffee bar and sandwich shop that would serve specialty coffee long before that was in vogue. You could find all kinds of desserts, sandwiches, and people reading books there, some even playing chess. Now Oxford Books is nothing more than a memory and a legend that is told in stories over coffee in corporate Barnes and Noble.

One of the things I will have to get used to is the higher prices for books. I used to buy books on the cheap, not anymore. I bought Philippa Gregory’s novel “The Boleyn Inheritance” for $16. A paperback for the outrageous sum of $16! I can remember buying hardcover books at Oxford Books and “Bookstore” for that same price. My how times have changed. Corporate America has taken over the bookstore market in Atlanta, and taken out all of the charm that goes with private sellers.

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1 Comment »

  1. Aw, I know how you feel. I used to love going to Cody’s Bookstore in Berkeley. My freshman year at Cal, the place was huge and there were always a ton of people inside. However, the year after I graduated the place closed down. It’s so sad. Anyway, now I have a membership to Barnes and Noble (I’ve sold out), and I continue to read. I’ve actually recently decided to read a book a week for a year. Phew, wish me luck.


    Comment by Phil Sharp — November 30, 2008 @ 10:36 pm

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