I used to love bookstores — they were magical places where the whole world of information and stories was at your fingertips. But I realized today that the bookstore has begun its slow decent into obsolescence, just like every analogue media institution. The bookstore has been replaced by the Web as the place of wonder, and there’s no turning back.
So will fiction and children’s books be enough to keep bookstores alive? Yes, but the already large cafe space in most big box bookstores, where people read and sip coffee (there were as many people using laptops as there were reading physical books) will continue to grow as the shelf space shrinks.
There's one reason I don't buy books from big-box bookstores: Price. (Now Half-Price is a different story.) Sure the selection's better at Amazon, but where's the instant gratification?
Now that Starbucks is increasing the sale of music, movies, and books, and big-box bookstores (and even libraries) are increasing the amount of coffee-shop space, will they one day become functionally indistinguishable?