Yesterday began the first Independent Bookstore Week in New York City. There will be parties, free cookies, bagels, readings, and more at indie bookshops all over the city--check out the calendar here.
Just in time, stomping on the grave of The Book, Union Square's Barnes & Noble has removed a big section of books by the front doors and replaced them with this Nook display:
The "Nook" is B&N's answer to the Kindle, the other book killer on the market. What makes the Nook so special? You can get designer covers for it by Kate Spade, Jack Spade, and Jonathan Adler. This aspect makes the Nook especially appealing to people who shop on the New Bleecker Street, and to the Sex & the City crowd, who will no doubt clamor for the Kate Spade "Jane Street" cover in hot pink.
In the marketing photo below, the glasses seem to signify, "Hey, just because you like hot pink stuff doesn't mean you're a dummy." The embossed text on the cover reads, "She kept her nose in a book," while on the back it's "and her head in the clouds." Which says to me, "Hey, you're a bookish dreamer, Baby! You're still a little girl at heart and what's wrong with that? Now, let's download the latest digital offering from Candace Bushnell and get that faux-Golightly feeling all over."
Whether or not these are attractive covers is not the point. The point is: The Nook is not a book, and if you stick your nose into it, it won't feel much different than an iPhone or a laptop.
As Nooks, Kindles, and iPhones take over our attentions, we lose our ability to read in depth (you are scanning this screen right now), actual books will be relegated to props in trendy bar windows and condo lounges, while bookstores--including Barnes & Noble--will vanish. Our minds and our lives will be more impoverished for it.
Until that "Book-apocalypse" day comes, go visit an indie and buy their books--before it's too late. Here's IBNYC's extensive list of indie bookshops in the city. I have definitely not visited all of them. Those that I have visited, and covered here, you can find at the following links: