Books Aren’t Dead: A Walk Through B&N

Books Aren’t Dead: A Walk Through B&N March 21, 2019

[Oh look! There it was in real life! Too bad it’s out of print.]

I saw on Twitter yesterday that all of LifeWay’s stores will be closing this year and that LifeWay will, like so many, be confined to a virtual existence. This news put me in mind of a sarcastic turn I took around Barnes and Noble almost five years ago. Isn’t it amazing that Barnes and Noble is still there? I even went in ours the other day and bought a book and no coffee. Since I wrote this I believe reading has made a cultural resurgence and ordinary people are reading more real books than ever, they’re just still buying them online and listening to them on audible. So anyway, enjoy a vaguely edited 2014 Throwback for Thursday.


The true charm of Barnes and Noble is meandering through the bargain section and discovering books one doesn’t have to be bothered to actually read. You might have been suffering from some guilt for not reading some of these books, but fret no longer, the books in this section are meant to squat intellectually on your shelf, giving all your visitors the impression of knowledge and wisdom. When someone settles down on your couch and glances up and, startled, exclaims, “Have you really read all these books?” You demure gracefully and ask them to tell you more about that trouble at work. Barnes and Noble is here, as it has been all these decades, as Americans read fewer and fewer books and watch more and more Rachel Ray, to help you. All these books that you Mercifully Don’t Have To Read are identified by heavy ornate covers and cellophane, grouped together to astonish and amaze. Every now and then you discover a new book that you thought maybe you should have read, but there it is, it’s in the section of books you don’t have to read, and you are saved from a terrible ordeal.

First up, a book you may have heard of but, of course, everyone knows this is not for actual reading.

Thank goodness for that! But what else is there that you can escape from?

I would never have put these two books next to each other but what a gift! Honestly, who has time for either one…well, I can tell you which one I really don’t have time for but I’ll let you try and guess.
And here is a book we hear so much about lately, but, as you can see, you are spared from having to read it. Look at its beautiful cover!
These two I quibble with. They aren’t that long and difficult. Maybe they were miss-shelved. Still, you know, some of the words in them are quite long. Maybe B&N knows what they’re doing.
Color me happy! I’m so behind on my book pile, this is a relief all the way around.
Yes, and more Dickens. Someone should have told him to try to write fewer books. Still, it will look pretty on your shelf.

As I was finally leaving, after, mind you, sticking with my simple purchase of coffee and not being swayed by any of these dazzling covers, because, you know, I have them all, excepting Tom Brokaw and Steven Hawking, on my free books app where I’m not reading them either, I passed the cheesy journal section.

There was a journal of the sayings of Buddha and a variety of others that tempted me not at all, but then I caught sight of this on the bottom shelf, wedged behind a misplaced sudoku book.

Jesus did say some stuff, don’t you know, and even though you don’t have to read it, you can pay 5.96$ plus tax to have it scrolled along the bottoms and tops of some fakey parchmented pages. When you feel alone, you can gaze at this sad bearded Jesus and then get online, where no one will ever be alone again.


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