Letter to the Editor: On the closing of Mr. Paperback
My bookstore has been in Farmington for 20 years and Mr. Paperback has been here for 39. Our two stores have some unique specialties, but we have always shared many things in common. We have always considered each other colleagues, and a compliment to each other, not competitors. We both have strongly supported Maine literature and local authors. We both energetically contributed our resources to the community through donations and outreach efforts. We have both hired local people and paid local taxes.
We at DDG view the closing of Mr. Paperback as a true sadness. It calls upon this community to appreciate the efforts and the contributions of the store over the years, and to consider what this means about the present and the future.
The physical book is neither dead nor dying. It is more important than ever. Real books have no share buttons, no chat links. The reader produces the book herself in the direct and perfect medium of her mind. At once both interactive and private, books are the ideal retreat, antidote, and source of balance in an increasingly digital world. Dire predictions about the future of bookselling are unfounded, not because they definitely won't happen, but because the positive economic actions we take to shop local and support the stores which support our communities do make a difference.
I do understand that some people prefer reading files over printed pages and that others think that price is all that matters, no matter what the cost. Their forecast that books, and local bookstores are doomed is neither surprising nor edifying. Those of us who do care deeply about books and the role of bookselling as a community institution will mark the closing of Mr. Paperback with both sadness and resolve.