Nostalgic for bookstores

Photo by Wells Baum

Our online identities have become our real-life identities, one where the rapidity of instant communication breaks down the slow pace of life. Tech makes us impulsive and drains our patience–we demand things with a click of a button and expect a drone to deliver them the same day.

So it’s no surprise that some people want to feel what it’s like to slow down again. The record store may be dead–selling CDs at least–but the bookstores continue to fight against the frenzied activity. Amazon just opened its second bookstore on the West Coast. The Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris is thriving, offering “an antidote to commercialism.” Some readers prefer personal recommendations over algorithmic ones.

For some, there will always be an allergic reaction to the rapidity, convergence, and intangibility of digital life, and a nostalgic desire to visit places that encourage us to think, browse, and chat. We will not salvage or recreate everything pre-digital, but we will prop up those spaces that give us an escape from the velocity of ourselves.

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