May the phrase a long, slow death die a long, slow death

Two thoughts on this link (thanks, Charlie!) to an interview with the producer of Paperback Dreams and the owners of Vertigo Books in Maryland.

1: This sentence makes me twitch.  “Independent book stores across the country have been dying a long, slow death for the past two decades.”  I would poke my eyes out with skewers if it meant a quick and painless death to this particular strain of the media’s narrative about bookstores. Not that it isn’t, on some level, true, for many bookstores.  For example, Vertigo has been very open about the fact that right now, they’re at risk, to raise awareness so that people aren’t taken aback like they often are when bookstores close their doors all of a sudden, and get people thinking about the choices they’re making and what that could mean for their community.  But the sentence still bugs.  I feel like there’s got to be a way to be honest about the state of bookselling without going all the-end-is-nigh.

2: I find it ironic that it’s right next to an ad to search Amazon.

It is a good segment, and I definitely recommend listening to it (it’s about 15 minutes long).  I very much liked Alex’s answer to the complexity of the relationship between self-published authors and indie bookstores, though I guess he didn’t see Jessica’s post about not reinforcing the idea that nobody reads anymore!  And I really did enjoy Paperback Dreams.  But the “scruffy indie bookstores are just barely holding on” is becoming just as annoying as the “comics aren’t just for kids anymore!” default beginning for an article.   Even more annoying is that even for an independent radio station, of all groups, Amazon is the default bookstore (IndieBound does have an affiliate program too, by the way).


1 comment so far

  1. Vertigo Books on

    We agree that the title (if they had to use it) should have ended in a question mark. For what it is worth, I had tried to convey to WAMU–after seeing the show’s title–that the DC area is having bad run. New independent bookstores are opening (largely specialty stores with corresponding sidelines). And other regions are supporting independents as a conscious choice about creating community, that’s why Kojo asked about Brooklyn stores at the end of the segment.

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