Critical Linking: July 31st, 2013

 

For these chains, a library — or at least the feel of one — allows a lobby to evolve from a formal space to a more homelike atmosphere, one that younger customers seek. Adam Weissenberg, vice chairman for the travel, hospitality and leisure groups at Deloitte, said, “My general impression is that this ties into changing demographics.” He added, “Younger travelers want to be part of the community.”

Or maybe it’s that people like books. Just spitballin’ here.

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So here’s an idea, for the publishing industry, Barnes & Noble or a tech-savvy retail entrepreneur: Instead of fighting showrooming, embrace it.

Separate the discovery and atmospheric value of bookstores from the book-warehousing function. Make them smaller, with the inventory limited to curated examination copies — one copy per title. (Publishers should be willing to supply such copies free, just as they do for potential reviewers.) Charge for daily, monthly or annual memberships that entitle customers to hang out, browse the shelves, buy snacks and use the Wi-Fi.

Right because if it is more expensive to browse books at physical bookstores, then people will buy more books. Lorda mercy.

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People die in bookstores more often than you think would happen when taking a job at a bookstore. It happened twice during my time there, both times like this: Someone walks into a bookstore. Wanders around, maybe gets a cup of coffee. Gathers an assortment of books. Is lucky enough to find an open chair. Sits in the chair. Dies.

And not **dies”” but dead dies. Finito. Ende.

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Ernest Hemingway. F Scott Fitzgerald. William Faulkner. John Cheever. Patricia Highsmith.Truman Capote. Dylan Thomas. Jack London. Marguerite Duras. Elizabeth Bishop. Jean Rhys. Hart Crane. These are among the greatest writers of our age, and yet, like Williams, their addiction to alcohol damaged their creativity, ravaged their relationships and drove many of them to death.

It is often asserted that writers have a greater propensity to heavy drinking. But is that statistically accurate? Or is it the case that many, many regular folks have drinking problems as well?

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