"Just as utilities are rightly regulated because they provide an essential service everyone needs- water, gas, electricity- so too the time has come for closer scrutiny and regulation of a company that, like Standard Oil a century ago, provides an indispensable service for a modern economy and a healthy culture. … (the French are exemplary here, having long recognized that books, like bread, are indispensable for any civilization worthy of the name; they subject both to price controls, thus permitting independent bookstores and bakeries to survive and thrive)."
I was thrilled to learn that an old friend from my early 90s bookstore days has just opened a bookstore with her family in Portland, ME. That’s right, I said opened a bookstore. The store is Letterpress Books, more info here.
A couple observations: I realized how spoiled I am in Boston to have 3 excellent bookstores within walking distance of where I live (plus others within the area but further away, plus some wonderful used bookstores) when I got to Maine, needed some last minute gifts, googled bookstores and found exactly two within all of the greater Portland area. (the above bookstore didn’t come up on my search). The nearest Barnes & Noble is 2 hours away in Augusta. It brought home the fact that if we aren’t careful, bookstores will be a luxury limited to large urban areas. As even owners of indie bookstores put out of business by B&N have begrudgingly pointed out, we’ve reached the point in some areas where if we don’t support B&N, some communities will be left with no accessible non-virtual bookstores. As someone who spends too little time out and about and too much time staring at a screen as it is, I find this sad. But I know I’m preaching to the choir here.
My friend said they’ve had great support from the community. I’ve been saying for some time that people who love books tend to love physical books, and love browsing for them in a physical bookstore (or library). The grateful reaction my friend is getting from the surrounding neighborhood backs this up. Here’s wishing my friend and her family the best.
(This morning; Me; Landlord’s 7 year old granddaughter..)
Kid: Can I come upstairs and play Angry Birds on your phone?
Me: Ok sure
15 minutes later, kid puts down phone: Do you have any books?
Ladies and gentlemen, we’re living in the future — flexible e-ink displays are here. Via Kottke
You know that thing with bears, where you don’t have to run faster than the bear, just faster than your friend? Does that work with robot overlords?
You know what would be really cool is if they could make the display super thin, and then maybe you could have a bunch of them, each one a separate page, and you could bind them together so you could flip through and.. oh.