A Sure Sign That the Printed Book is Not Dead

We’ve all seen the headlines. . .

The sale of e-readers and digital books is on the rise.

Print books are on the way out.

While change is taking place in the publishing world at a remarkable rate and will continue to do so, I’m not convinced that the demise of the printed book is imminent. Join me on my emotional journey as I came to this oh so scientific conclusion.

A dear friend’s novel released in September. Since I want to see her book sell well, I held out high hopes of seeing it on the shelves in Walmart. Because my desire ran deep, I found numerous reasons to visit the Placerville, California Walmart during the month.

The store is undergoing a major renovation, one I’m told will result in the discontinuation of some sections in order to accommodate a larger grocery section. The work has been underway for a couple of months, which means the store is in “pardon our dust” mode. The racks are playing hide and seek, so each time I enter I have to hunt for what I’m after.

Having dealt with the demise of the Borders store near us over the summer, I lived in fear of walking into Walmart and finding out that the book section had been eliminated. Locating it was my first priority each time I visited the store.

Two weeks ago the unthinkable happened. I entered our Walmart only to discover the big blue sign suspended from the ceiling that read “Books & Magazines” was gone. My throat went dry, and my eyes moistened.

I made a mad dash for the aisle, darting around people pushing carts and nearly colliding with a display of toothpaste. I reached the row and beheld a sight that sent tears tumbling down my face. The racks, which had filled one side of the row, were bare.

I stood before the empty inspirational section and struggled to accept this heartbreaking discovery, my breath coming in rapid bursts. The lady looking at the bread on the opposite side of the aisle must have thought I was a bit strange. (I am, but that’s beside the point. =)

As I stood with my mouth agape staring at the dusty shelves, a thought occurred to me. What if they hadn’t packed up the books and sent them back to the publishers? What if they’d just moved them?

I flew through the store, making my way from the front to the back methodically so as not to miss anything. I’d covered two thirds of the store and found nothing. Hope dwindled.

And then I spied a sight that dried my tears. The familiar blue sign hung in the middle of the back portion of the store. At that point, I broke into a run. Well, OK, it was probably more of a jog, but let me tell you, I was moving.

I reached the area, did a double take, and danced down the aisle. The book section was there all right, but it was bigger and better than ever. Two and a half times larger than its predecessor in fact, with two rows of books and magazines, two end caps, and a wide section of shelves on the back wall of the store. It’s so big I couldn’t get it all in the photo!

I happy danced my way down the aisle, spinning a pirouette when I reach the inspirational section, one over twice as wide as before. There’s so much space that the renovation crew had to spread the books out in an attempt to fill the brand new shelf units.

I’ve not spotted my friend’s book on the shelf, not that one anyhow, although I did find another of her books a few days before the move took place. But that’s a story I’ll share in my post on Wednesday, one with a very happy ending.

• • •

Do you prefer printed books or their digital counterparts?

If you buy print books, where do you purchase them?

Has your local Walmart expanded its book section?


About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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58 Responses to A Sure Sign That the Printed Book is Not Dead

  1. Jill Kemerer says:

    I don’t have an e-reader yet, so I still love my printed books! But I see myself enjoying both in the future. 🙂 That’s so cool about your Walmart. All of our local superstores have large book sections, and they all feature CBA books too. Love it!

  2. Laura Cope says:

    I love my books printed. I can see that can wrong with an ereader! Print my books!!!

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