I truly, *truly* hate it when technocrats extol "efficient" and "cheap" as if these things were inherent virtues rather than simply...adjectives. Masturbation may be the most efficient, least expensive (you don't have to buy dinner! or anniversary gifts!) way to achieve an orgasm. Doesn't make it the best way.
What rankles me, though, is the hectoring attitude of bookstore cultists like Russo, especially when they argue that readers who spurn indies are abandoning some kind of “local” literary culture. There is little that’s “local” about most local bookstores. Unlike a farmers’ market, which connects you with the people who are seasonally and sustainably tending crops within driving distance of your house, an independent bookstore’s shelves don’t have much to do with your community. Sure, every local bookstore promotes local authors
I’m generally a fan of price comparison—like everyone else, I hate spending more than I should...
Compared with online retailers, bookstores present a frustrating consumer experience. A physical store—whether it’s your favorite indie or the humongous Barnes & Noble at the mall—offers a relatively paltry selection, no customer reviews, no reliable way to find what you’re looking for, and a dubious recommendations engine.
If you don’t choose your movies based on what the guy at the box office recommends, why would you choose your books that way?
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