Grumpy Old Man?

The Former Owner of Book Bank Used books wonders if he has become a Grumpy Old Man.

He has considered some folks of a certain age as being prone to certain characteristic activities in lieu of having a useful life: activities such as continual muttering of the phrases “in my day” and “good old days”, constant and continual complaints about trivial lapses in services or products, pointless prolonged testimony at myriad city government meetings, shouting at the neighborhood kids playing in front of his house, and so on. Oh yes, also writing Letters to the Editor. Which brings us to the book-related part of this blog entry,

Recently the Former Owner’s attention was captured by two items concerning bookselling in consecutive issues of the free weekly Alexandria Gazette-Packet newspaper. The Former Owner is a faithful reader of that newspaper because (1) it’s free, and (2) he enjoys looking at pictures in the real estate ads of houses he cannot afford. Indeed, the principal content of the Gazette Packet appears to be such ads and pictures. The newspaper does have news articles on local matters, however, and columns, and Letters to the Editor.

It was a Letter to the Editor, and an apparently unrelated item in the subsequent issue, that sparked the Former Editor to write his first-ever Letter to the Editor. To-wit:

“To the Editor:

“I would like to comment on a letter in the May 9 issue (“A City’s Priorities” from [John Doe]). I agree strongly with Mr. [Doe]’s point that funding Alexandria’s libraries needs to receive high priority in Alexandria’s budgets, but I take issue with his statement that “Alexandria is a community where no bookseller can survive.” Book Bank Used Books, which I opened in May 2001, continues to thrive at 1510 King Street. I invite Mr. [Doe] and all Alexandria booklovers to join us at our 12th anniversary sale beginning on May 18.

“Book Bank is not the only surviving bookstore in Alexandria. Across the street from Book Bank our friends at Hooray for Books sell new books, primarily for children. I also note Pauline Books and Media on King Street, and our fellow used booksellers at Already Read Used Books on Duke Street just outside Old Town.

“Old Town has lost the independent bookseller Olsson’s but that was not peculiar to Alexandria; all Olsson’s locations closed throughout the metropolitan area. For those who miss the former Books-a-Million location in Old Town, Alexandria still has a chain bookseller in the Barnes & Noble in Potomac Yard.

“Thriving libraries and bookstores are both vital to Alexandria, and I hope that the city continues to have both.

[Former Owner of Book Bank]”

So, was othering to send this letter a sign of impending Grumpy Old Manhood? Or a necessary reaction on behalf of all embattled book-lovers everywhere? Something in-between? What do you think?

One thought on “Grumpy Old Man?

  1. Necessary. Very necessary. Libraries and bookstores aren’t antithetical, either. There are some books that are better borrowed than owned. Then there are others that will be treasured additions to one’s bookshelves and will be read and reread throughout the years.

    I love the Book Bank. It’s got the best sci-fi and fantasy selection of any bookstore in the DC area, new or used.

    I’m tired of hearing that physical bookstores are a relic of the past, because internet booksellers base your browsing experience based on other books you like. You can discover neat things in a genre, but you don’t get to pick a book up off a shelf that’s a bit outside of your comfort zone. It’s important to be able to find things that you aren’t searching for.

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