Oracle After Hours: Sick of looking at screens? Explore the wonderland of bookstores


Aria Jain, Columnist

      There is an unappreciated magic that comes with going to a bookstore. Yet, with the proliferation of easily accessible electronic books, I think we often forget the special experience a bookstore provides.

     It is difficult to deny the convenience of electronic books. Instead of waiting an extended period for a tangible book to arrive or taking the time to find a book in a store, electronic books deliver a solution to the wait and clutter of books. Because electronic books are so accessible, falling into a disappointing cycle of reading online is easy. 

       After finishing an electronic book, I found that I did not feel the same sense of satisfaction and pride when completing a tangible book. The feeling of closing the covers of a finished book cannot even be compared to clicking onto the last page of an electronic novel.

 I also lost my passion for reflecting on books through online reading because I was so concentrated on reading a new book that was available at the touch of a button. 

     After recently visiting a bookstore for the first time in years, I realized how much of the literary magic I was missing by consistently reading books online. Throughout my visit, I found myself admiring many aspects of the experience that I had previously overlooked. I felt a renewed appreciation for not only the bookstore but reading itself.

  I realized how versatile bookstores are in the sense that they give visitors what they are looking for, no matter how different each person’s preferences are. The way a bookstore can individually cater to a person is one of its many defining qualities. For me, bookstores offer comfort and happiness. The vibrant colors from the endless rows of books bring a sense of unparalleled fulfillment.

     Happiness from a bookstore might seem trivial or simple. However, with our generation as digital-centric and technology-focused as it is, a break from all the screens is rare. As a generation, we increasingly value the convenience and accessibility that is generated from innovation. What goes unnoticed is the older indispensables we leave behind. 

With electronic books capturing over $3.2 billion in the bookselling market since 2011, business in bookstores has been declining as preference towards ordering novels online as well as reading online has skyrocketed. Consumer’s preference toward online shopping has caused bookstores to lose substantial business. This decline is incredibly sad as all the magic and luster that bookstores hold is being overlooked. 

While business in bookstores is not booming, reading, in general, seems to be dwindling too. With innovative new technology surrounding us, books can be effortlessly passed off as inconsequential. 

To truly preserve reading and bookstores, a balance needs to be found between technology and literature. Bookstores are truly extraordinary not only because of the literature they hold, but the spirit they exude. Instead of taking bookstores for granted, we should take the time to visit a bookstore and fall into the magical world that they hold.  If the two can coexist in a mutually beneficial way, the positive change that is possible in the future is infinite.