Bookstores Going Away?

Our local bookstore won Australian Bookseller of the Year in 2012. It's a fantastic space, well curated, livened by an ongoing series of displays and literary events. It is clear that the proprietors view it as a passion as much as a business. Yet they have been in the news suggesting business is bad and closure possible. If a bookstore that good is in trouble, then pity the rest. Another local bookstore (children's specialist) shut down a couple of weeks ago. As the outlets shrink in number and shelf space, the economics of book distribution stop working. Deep discounting Internet sellers such as Amazon and the Book Depository have a massive advantage. Mike Shatzkin has done a sterling job of discussing this transition and the change in perspective required in the new digital age. Maybe bookstores will survive in some form, but it is difficult to feel very confident about that at the moment. It is depressing to contemplate entire towns bereft of a place where the life of the mind is given its due.