Our View: One for the books
You may have heard that bookstores are a thing of the past, that Amazon.com and e-reader devices will spell the end of bricks-and-mortar stores selling actual books printed on actual paper. Just don't tell that to the owners of Bloomsbury Books.
Co-owners Karen Chapman and Sheila Burns are preparing to celebrate 35 years in business, with no end in sight. The two started Bloomsbury in 1979 with two other women.
After two moves to successively larger quarters, Bloomsbury wound up in its present location on East Main Street in 1991, a two-story space with enough room for a coffee shop. The formula has proved successful ever since.
Part of Bloomsbury's longevity could be attributed to its location in a college town. Part of it is undoubtedly the tradition of personal service the business is known for.
Part of it could be Oregon — one of 10 states where the ratio of traditional bookstores to big-box stores is 2-1 or greater, according to Publishers Weekly. And it could be a reaction to our wired world.
The Washington Post, in a 2013 story on the resurgence of traditional bookstores, found that many people want to get away from electronic screens and interact with others, from playing board games to reading books made with ink and paper.
Whatever the reasons, we're glad Bloomsbury is still around (that means there's hope for the local daily newspaper, too). Bloomsbury's celebration is April 19, just ahead of a new occasion: the first National Independent Bookstore Day on May 2.