I love Amazon. I can find any book I want there. I can sell my own works there, too. I can buy so many other things besides books – lap top computers, cameras, shoes, spring and summer dresses. What I can’t do is browse, wander, soak up atmosphere, and appreciate the strange folks who stroll in with whatever quirky passion or agenda is driving them that decade or day.
City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco is more than a building with books. It’s a world, an evocation of the past where the Beats did their thing. It’s a passage from the mundane to the extraordinary, where the love of writing, reading, and fabulous thinking is in the very air you breathe.
I love the digital world. I’m all for it. Every day my work finds new readers on the internet. I correspond with people all over the country. But the digital world is not the real world, or the old world, and certainly not the world of the beloved, strange, beautiful independent bookstore.
Nor will it ever be.