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.”
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.
(Note: this post also appeared at TeleRead.)