Welcome to the new post-literate America. Stacey's, the largest, oldest independent bookstore remaining in the San Francisco Bay Area, announced yesterday that it is closing its doors due to financial difficulties. This gives yet another data point to the ongoing trend of closures in the Bay Area. Cody's, A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, and Printers Inc have all pre-deceased Stacey's, and the trend now appears to be unstoppable. The mega-chains, meanwhile, continue their revenue-enhancing trend of replacing books with actual text with picture books, self-help guides, and manga.
In the long sweep of history, the Twentieth Century will be known as a time of aberrations; of gross rises and falls of historical trends. Communism, omnipresent petroleum use, and the nuclear family are already seed as artifacts of that anachronistic era. Now it appears that the widespread reading of books might also be in the process of being added to the historical trash heap.