The Death and Resurrection of Print

You close your eyes and take a deep breath as you feel your first sip of coffee warm your entire body. It’s a brisk day in February, but you are safe and warm with the smell of fresh ink on a page wafting through the air. Each turning page feels like an adventure unfolding beneath your fingertips.

Snap back to reality

You are sitting at your desk with your Kindle and mediocre Keurig coffee in hand, wishing that the auto-adjusting backlight would auto-adjust just a little bit faster. You are finally getting used to the cold unresponsive glass that has become your page when you get the death sentence: “Low Battery.” Once again, your adventure has been interrupted, you can’t find your charger, and you wonder why people like e-books so much.

Okay … that was a bit dramatic, but you get the picture. Although e-books are convenient, there’s just something about a physical book that an e-book can’t deliver. In fact, studies on the smell of old books demonstrate why they have such an impact on us. Maybe that is why e-book sales are on the decline. But how long will this last? Will print prevail?

Although Barnes & Noble was the largest chain book retailer in 2016, the business is taking a hit. And we can’t put all the blame on J.K. Rowling. Struggling to compete with Amazon, Barnes & Noble will need to make some changes and readers will need to take a stand.

CNNMoney published an article suggesting that Barnes & Noble end its partnership with Starbucks, stop promoting their Nook so heavily, and downsize to house a smaller selection of curated items. I agree with the majority of these suggestions. My only concern is downsizing because selfish, and I want as many books as possible available to me. This being said, I would love to see a cozier Barnes & Noble where each store partners with a local coffee shop instead of Starbucks. This way, each store will have its own unique experience and Crete rapport with its corresponding community.

I hope Barnes & Noble listens to the voices of its consumers. It seems that they are trying, with special offers on print books and some new strategic plans in the works like experimenting with store layouts and in-store beer and wine bars.

I have yet to see widespread implementation of these plans. As a lover of print, I hope to see these plans come to fruition sooner rather than later. But what can we do as the reading community to keep our precious books afloat in the meantime?

Let’s read regularly.

Trust me, I know it’s hard to find time to read for leisure. I’m a full-time student with a part-time job. I volunteer regularly and I do my best to have a social life. But sometimes I just need to relax and read a good book.

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Set a realistic goal for yourself. Try reading one new book a month or just 10 pages a day. And instead of downloading the e-book, get into your local bookstore. Sit down with a cup of good coffee. (Make sure it’s good coffee; otherwise, this whole excursion is pointless). And just read. Let yourself go for a while and escape into whatever adventure lies within those pages.

But don’t just read. Purchase the book.

Yes, print books are typically more expensive than their digital counterparts, but isn’t it worth the trade-off? I will be the first one to tell you I’m a Barnes & Noble heart inside a library budget. But at just one book a month, I believe we can make it work. You will thank yourself later when your bookshelves are beautifully filled and you’re no longer scrambling to plug in your Kindle.

So, let’s take a stand for the books we believe in. Let’s occupy bookstores and bring Barnes back.

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