I am a Sad Panda today, friends.
I just learned that one of the sweetest spots in Harvard Square, and my go-to place for child gifts, Curious George Bookstore, is closing.
This is the most recent of several small, indie book shops to close in that area. Harvard Square is a beautiful, historic spot that attracts tourists from literally every corner of the globe (I should know, I have worked there in retail for 3.5 years). Locals and Harvard grads of yesteryear return to the square and comment to us "youngins" about how different it looks. In fact, a friend of mine who began as an undergrad in 2001 and is working on a PhD now, all at Harvard, has said how much the square has changed since she began her studies a mere ten years ago.
I also worked at an indie book store during college and grad school. The Book Shop offered the seaside community an alternative to the big box bookstores located 20 - 30 minutes away (without mall traffic factored in). Owned by a group of really cool women, the Book Shop really had something for everyone, and thrived in part on customer service. Didn't have a book you wanted? You can order it. The 'ladies' bend over backwards to find your requested book. They also are avid readers themselves and keep on top of the NYT and Globe bestseller lists, making sure to have a few of each in stock. This is a community book store, with a customer base who are on a first name basis with at least one (usually many) employee/owner.
So yes, maybe books are cheaper on Amazon. Maybe you troll the bargain bin at Barnes and Noble.
But when your local book shop closes its doors due to lack of interest, and you cannot find a real human person to give you a decent book recommendation, kick yourself for not realizing the importance of the indies sooner.