I just saw that the Barnes & Noble store on 5th Avenue in New York City is closing. The building will now become a Banana Republic—sigh. I’m well aware of the problems bricks and mortar bookstores are having. And I know New York City real estate prices are sky high, but this makes me sad, folks. This Barnes & Noble is the very first store where I saw one of my books on display. I will never forget walking into this huge bookstore and there was my little paperback! It was a surreal feeling to be in what once was the epicenter of the publishing world and walk into a bookstore and see my name on a stack of books.
I lived in New York for almost eight years, yet in many ways my life in the West Village feels utterly remote to who and what I am now. So much so that it’s almost like I’m just remembering someone else’s life. But a few memories are still vivid, and this bookstore visit is definitely one of them.
Now when we visit New York I won’t be able to take my kids into this store and say here’s where Mom’s books were stacked up and watch them roll their eyes before they race off to the children’s section or the coffee shop.
To me, this signals the end of an era. If Barnes & Noble no longer can, or cares about, maintaining a presence in Manhattan . . . well, it’s all over but the accounting. And while I love my Kindle and the convenience of ebooks, that’s just sad. Because although it’s said that many readers still prefer print books, I’m pretty sure they won’t be finding them in the Safari Wear section at Banana Republic.