Boarded up!


The sign says ” ye Bye Austin“, where in the past, one would spot special events such as Book Reading etc… Welcome to UT, Austin campus main strip. Welcome to a new world, online, offline and virtual.

If Borders and Blockbursters could not stem the tide, no independent book chain can.

BTW, with the passing of the Newsweek owner (who had bought the magazine for a token $1.00), the family pledged to continue “bearing the burden” until the Newsweek/Beast returns to profitability.

So much overhyped and many overbuilt strip malls, now seen with For-Lease signs. Meanwhile, Dell is joining others to build Data Centers. With the rate we are going, pretty soon, they will farm it out for people to host corporate servers at home in exchange for rent money (already, advertising companies solicit your cars, then your house, to turn them into stationary or mobile bill boards).

The partition of home and work, private and public, first and second place is blurred. Starbucks provides a so-called Thrid Place during the dot.com boom, only to see it turn into Second place when more people are laid off (BTW, men’s level of employment stands only at 65%, as opposed to 85% during post WW period. The later group got GI Bills, the US’ greatest investment ever). More plants are boarded up to, not just book stores, video stores and strip malls.

My daughter reads herself to sleep every night. The sight of a little girl holding a book just warms my heart. Hate to see it go away.

The love of books. Webster would join in to sing the praise.

To carry today’s tablet is synonymous to carrying a gaming device.

Reading has to compete with other sensory-stimulating distractions e.g. video, music, games, sports, news, e-mail and social media

Of all the places I least suspect independent book stores might close out, would be right off campus.

Yet, I saw it yesterday on my drive by (Borders used to be anchor chain for many malls, now boarded up as well). Entrepreneurs like Branson got his start on campus, selling records (vinyl). Now he has gone on to explore deep seas potential. Bookstore is not a store, but it’s a hub (not smoke filled pub) where minds are challenged and expanded, where Proust, Teilhard de Chardin, Mailer, Wolfe are read . It’s where activists can hand out flyers, and concert promoters tickets. Barnes and Nobles started out with the concept of letting people browse and read freely (puppy-dog sales).

Now this venue is coming to a close (digitization hurts newspaper and print the most, while magazines are still OK e.g US News and World Reports). It brings back sadness and silence, the like of the “day the music dies” when Tower Records closed its door. Ever since, music was still played and listened to, at the gym and on the bus. But it has not been the same: everyone seems to bear his/her own grief and joy privately (Guy Kawasaki I.D this trend, with the ubiquitous I-pod headset).  I understand now the rise of Facebook “Like”. Where else could we go to yell out: hey, listen to this, isn’t it awesome! Or, read this – look at this. Certainly not at the now all boarded up bookstore off campus, where the sign-off says ” ye Bye Austin”.

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