I found myself in a different part of town today and decided to stop in at a bookstore, one of chain. I went to find and buy a slew of children’s picture books as a gift for my friend who is about to have twins. The book business has changed. There was more real estate given over to toys, for little kids but also for overgrown ones, than for books. This was especially true for children’s literature. I own more classic children’s picture books and literature than was on display.
I found one half-beaten softcover edition of Where The Wild Things Are. There was no Ferdinand The Bull. There was no Good Night Moon. Only one edition of Charlotte’s Web and no other works of E.B. White. No Jules Verne, not even a little bit. Something called Zootopia was well represented. Disney-related works dominated. I was a bit bereft. I went in search of D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Mythology.
The book business has changed. It has changed drastically. I try not to get sniffy about this kind of thing. People like me have been sure we are in a cultural decline since their was a pop culture to be consumed. But the change, in a relatively short period of time, it is stark. And alarming. If this books aren’t there on the shelf, how does one discover them? Libraries, for sure, but they can only stock so many volumes. And funding for libraries, I can’t even discuss.
I found the D’Aulaire’s, the only copy, stashed behind what is apparently a best-selling children’s biography of Adolf Hitler written by FOX news host Bill O’Reilly. I can’t think too much about that or I will soon lose the will to live.