Sunday, July 1, 2012

Scenes from a Bookstore: Petulant Teenager

"I'm never coming back in here ever again!" I hear a girl about thirteen whine to her father as he gets in line at the local B&N. I'm in line in front of them, two novels in my hands.
"Never ever?" her father says flatly. He doesn't even look at her, probably used to her tantrums by now.
She gestures to the books in his hand, "You could just get a Nook. Then you could get those in, like, two seconds and we wouldn't have to come in here anymore."
He ignores her suggestion and patiently waits for the line to creep forward while she stalks off to the cafe inside the shop.
My brow inadvertently furrows: there are plenty of things to tempt a non-reader in a Barnes and Noble. There are movies, music, board games, Ugly Dolls. I can't help but think that this girl is being unreasonable and is not concerned so much with the fifteen minutes trapped in this purgatory, but afraid that some of her friends might see her there.
Just a few years ago, the media started telling us that smart was sexy, nerds were the new cool. It appears the pendulum is swinging back and to be caught browsing at a Barnes and Noble is somehow shameful and embarrassing to these local teens now.
Being "cool" as I understand it is being interesting. Being a person with something to bring to conversations, something new to offer to your circle of peers seems a lot cooler than bringing nothing but the latest Facebook news. Maybe I'm just old fashioned.


  1. This post makes me want to cry. A completely distorted reason resulting in the preference of ebooks over real books :'(

  2. I know, I'm sure if he told her that they wouldn't be going to the mall any more and she would have to purchase 100% of her clothing online, she would throw a fit.
    Same idea in my opinion: buying online works sometimes, but it doesn't replace being able to browse and try things on and that applies to books as well.

  3. "Well, glad we don't have to associate ourselves with her!" is my spontaneous reaction. Sure, you can get a Nook or a Kindle or something (I love my Kindle) and buy novels in "like, two seconds" but that's not the same as going to a bookstore.

    There's a time and place for everything. I use the Kindle to read the classics, as they're out of copyright and free to download - much easier and cheaper than going out and buying them for the sole purpose of having read them, even if the Wordsworth Editions are only £1.99 each. It still adds up if you want to read the complete works of a number of authors! It's also good for reading really thich and/or heavy books, which I can find awkward to hold. But the thing is, an eBook reader is great for taking on a holiday as you can bring a whole library with you without taking up precious bag space/weight ... but you can't beat a proper bookshelf at home.

  4. I completely agree Traxy. For frequent travel, they can be great, but nothing beats a real book.