John Chamberlain
Developer Diary
 Developer Diary · You Heard It Here First · Monday 22 March 2004
Computers Killing Off Bookstores
Are computers killing off bookstores? The latest casualty in the move to online is Avenue Victor Hugo, a long-time resident of Boston's famed Newbury Street. On the store website owner the owner writes an editorial of reasons why the local bookstore is disappearing from America. The reality is that people just aren't reading any more, especially the classics you find at Avenue Victor Hugo.

To put things in perspective America has never been a particularly literate society anyway. It's adventurous spirit just has not had the time or patience for readin' and 'rithmetic. The advent of the computer has merely provided a convenient excuse for the average American to do what they always wanted to: forget about books. Information is just a google search away. Who needs a dictionary? Or a medical handbook, or any other book for that matter. Need to read "Pride and Prejudice" for school? Forgettaboutit! Well-written summaries are a mouse click away.

I am a programmer, but I am also a big reader. I have thousands of books all bought at places like Avenue Victor Hugo. Believe it or not the most detailed information about virtually any subject can still only be gleaned from books and I thrive on the ind-depth knowledge you will find nowhere else. But I am the exception. In practice most people are not interested in detailed information. As far as entertainment goes books rate even lower. Who needs books with diversions like Unreal Tournament, Playstation 2, 500 channels of cable, and watching Janet Jackson do strip tease while 250-pound dropouts wrestle with each other over a pigskin.

It seems that the days of the retail antiquarian bookstore are numbered. From now on you need only look online (where else?) for books.

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