Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bookstore Closings

I stopped at Brown’s Bookstore in Rhinelander this week and discovered they were closing. After 18 years they are locking their doors and calling it quits. A loss to the community; a loss to publishers, a loss to writers.

I also noticed this week that the Borders' book chain, second only to Barnes and Noble in size, has lost its battle to continue after declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year.

Little bookstores, big bookstores, independents and chains—closing. Not able to compete with the juggernaut called E-books that are digital and require no paper. Books read on such devices as Kindle and Nook and iPads and Blackberries. Books that cost less, oft times considerably less than their paper printed versions.

What are we losing when we lose a bookstore, whether a little independent such as Brown’s in Rhinelander or the Borders’ chain that had stores scattered across the country? Are bookstores, real ones not virtual, digital versions, important enough so that some will survive? Should some survive?

We appear to be in the midst of a great revolution—an earthshaking reshaping of defining what is a book and how they are made and sold? It’s both an exciting and a depressing time.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: How do we decide what of the past we should keep when something new comes along and threatens to replace it?

CHECK THIS OUT: My friend, Phil Martin, who is a writer, editor, and publisher, has just published a new book: HOW TO WRITE YOUR BEST STORY. It’s advice for writers who want to polish their story writing skills. Great collection of practical tips. Available on, and other booksellers. And only $14.95. What a deal!

July 26, Noon, Wis Historical Society Museum, on the Square, Madison, WI. Ringling Bros. Circus.

July 31-August 6, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County.

August 10. 5 p.m., program at 6 p.m. Red Crown Lodge, 3852 Highway 51 North, Arbor Vitae, WI Preview of Ken Burns’ latest film, Prohibition. Discussion of Prohibition in Wisconsin. Free. Registration required by August 5. Register: or call 608-263-4508.

August 13. 5:30 p.m. Manitowoc County Historical Society. Horse Drawn Days.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jerry, Lots of closings, yes, but over here in the St. Croix Valley we're happy that a new bookstore has opened in downtown Hudson - Chapter2books. I stopped in yesterday to chat with personable co-owner Brian Roegge. They have a nice selection of Wisconsin-related books. So put a visit to the store on your "to do" list when you're in this part of the state. Michael Norman