Home / Spring 2012 / 2012-01-26 / Grinding down on the books
In the wake of the worst economic times since the Great Depression, it's easy to get caught up in our own affairs and take certain things for granted.

Grinding down on the books

In the wake of the worst economic times since the Great Depression, it’s easy to get caught up in our own affairs and take certain things for granted.

People have less money now and are looking to get the most for their money whenever possible. Couple this with the modern dependence on technology and we may be on our way into a downward spiral that could see the things we know and love slipping right out from under us. What’s even scarier is that the spiral has begun and few have noticed.

When Borders went bankrupt last year, stores closed nationwide and over 10,000 jobs were lost, according to CNN Money. Barnes and Noble closed stores in Los Angeles and New York state last year. Book-a-Million’s annual report showed that its net revenue for 2011 was approximately 2.7 percent lower than in 2010.

With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting an 8.5 percent unemployment rate and 13.1 million unemployed persons for December, the last thing we need in this country is another national company closing its doors and decreasing American jobs.

If we continue this trend of “going digital” bookstores, chains and small local stores alike, have to make major changes in order to keep up with the public.

The public demands a constant supply of information and it wants that information instantly. If someone of our generation wants information, he or she goes to a computer or smartphone and “Google’s” it.

Google, the name of a search engine, has entered our language as a verb. Using the internet for research is quicker and simpler, but that’s just the problem. By making tasks simpler and easier, our generation has become lazy and dependent on machines.

Instead of carrying around stacks of books, it’s much easier to just download a digital copy. Yes, the ability to download books onto your Kindle or iPhone is cool, but do you ever think about what it means on a grander scale?

When we were in elementary school, teachers taught us how to research the old-fashioned way—in the library, with books (before libraries were known as “media centers”). In middle and high school, we began to use the Internet instead—and never looked back. Now, in college, students have to relearn these skills to write research papers for their required courses. As technology progresses, will future generations surpass even the reaches of the World Wide Web?

Like the flutter of a butterfly’s wings, all of our actions affect others. Buying digital books and shopping online is not all bad, but just try to support your local bookstore from time to time. Remember, if we let bookstores die, your children’s’ children may never get to feel a tangible newspaper or physical book. And that, friends, would be a tragedy.

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