Film fans cried out in sadness recently at the news that both HMV and Blockbuster were on their way to the big DVD/Blu-ray cloud in the sky. The increase in downloads and online shopping was to blame, it was said, with the high street shops simply unable to keep afloat. With companies like Netflix and LoveFilm taking over rentals and many just making their purchases online, there is no longer a need to go into the shops and buy them over the counter.
Surely then, bookshops are heading the same way. Libraries have been in serious trouble for a good long while now, with many being closed and those that remain open having their budgets slashed dramatically. So if people keep buying books online instead of going into shops and browsing before buying, the bookshops are surely not far behind Blockbuster and HMV's footsteps.
For many, the art of browsing is a luxury people don't appreciate. That opportunity to go into a book shop with no particular purchase in mind and just delve into the shelves and see what grabs you. Browsing may not always result in a purchase but it is an experience in itself to have a closer look, to wander through the shops and marvel at all that they have on offer.
Believe me, as someone who struggles to find clothes long enough for me on the high street and is forced to buy them online, I truly miss being able to 'try something' in store. It may be a few months or a few years, but the luxury (and yes, it really is a luxury) of being able to browse in a shop and not just on a website is one that we should all cherish while we can.
Because it doesn't look like bookshops have much longer…
Do you agree? Has the introduction of Kindles, e-readers, online shopping and downloads marked the beginning of the end for bookshops and libraries? Let us know in the comments.