Snark is not enough: Green Apple Books takes on the Kindle

Planning an overnight layover in San Francisco a few years back, I asked a friend from the Bay Area what the best used bookstore in town was.

Without hesitation, he said, “Green Apple Books.”

Green Apple logSo I went there.  It’s just what you’d expect: the slightly standoffish clerks, the vast selection of Buddhist-themed tomes, the glowing Sherman Alexie recommendations.

I surrendered to that wonderful vertigo every avid reader experiences when there are too many good books to count, not enough time, and not enough money.  I walked out exhilarated with two bulging bags of used paperbacks.

So I was intrigued to see that Green Apple is mounting an anti-Kindle campaign via YouTube.

Their point, evidently, is that a Kindle will get you nowhere in a used bookstore.  Fair enough, and amusingly presented.  (Irony #1: Green Apple using electronic technology to refute the value of e-books.  Irony #2  the Kindle transforming hipster Left Coasters into the fuddy-duddy conservatives of the book world.)

Of course, Green Apple doesn’t mention that the Kindle and other e-readers have the potential to make places such as Green Apple obsolete, the recent brouhaha surrounding Amazon’s 1984-like silent zapping of 1984 notwithstanding.

E-readers have all kinds of issues to work out before that ever happens, needless to say.  But traditional bookstores can’t just void their existence with dollops of meta-snarkasm.  I, for one, hope that Green Apple and others like it find a way to adapt and survive.  But they’re going to have to do it in a world of e-readers.  I don’t know that trading on their hipster appeal is going to be enough to keep them afloat.

The videos here are Parts One and Two a planned series of ten. Stayed tuned to Green Apple’s YouTube channel and their blog for updates.

(Note: this post also appeared at TeleRead.)

4 thoughts on “Snark is not enough: Green Apple Books takes on the Kindle

  1. Pingback: Snark is not enough: Green Apple Books takes on the Kindle … | I AM OSX

  2. John Sharp

    Perhaps it is mentioned in the videos, but a couple of weeks ago amazon unilaterally deleted a number of titles from Kindle users’ accounts without notice or permission. Among the titles deleted was Orwell’s 1984. . . At least your used paperbacks stayed with you. Far simpler than dealing with the Gods of “digital rights management”

  3. John Sharp

    I should read more carefully — I see you have mentioned the Orwell episode in your post. In any event, register my vote for the snarky peddlers of real, tangible paperback books.

  4. Court Merrigan Post author

    John, vote registered. On the whole, I think those indie bookstores like Green Apple have their niche, as I said commented over at TeleRead. I hope they keep it. But if snark’s all they got, I don’t think they will.

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