Despair at the Big Box Book Store

There was a time, say ten years ago when my age, and somewhat bookish interests, and suburban residence conspired to make the arrival of Chapters and Indigo really exciting to me. Before these stores came around books were, in my life, bought sold in little shoeboxes of stores in the mall where the necessities of space dictated that most of the shelves would contain Stephen King or Danielle Steele or someone else of that ilk.

In that light, you have to understand that the advent of the much bigger bookstores was a boon to me. I don’t know whether they’ve gone down hill since then or whether my standards have improved, but these days I experience much more disgust. The sheer square footage ensures that there is always some product that is worthwhile but the stuff that is prominently displayed seems to be uniform in its schlocky quality.

It doesn’t matter what aisle you walk down, outside of fiction there are plenty of books by smiling gurus – gurus of fitness, religion, money, whatever – smiling their photoshopped botox smiles. There is so much seemingly easy advice on how to do this or that. It’s miserable to me because people are so ready for a cheap, easy answer that they’ll spend all kinds of time and money chasing it.

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