Can an Online Bookstore Be a Community Bookstore?
Is the frequently drawn distinction between online bookstores (efficient, convenient, innovative) and traditional bookstores (old-fashioned, communal, curated) a false one? This fall, Molly Gaudry and her fellow staff at The Lit Pub are trying to prove that it is.
Billing itself as “an online bookstore that hand-picks and recommends books,” The Lit Pub was founded earlier this year and has recently relaunched with an effusion of bookish joy. (“From our hearts to yours!”) The site features staff-written reviews of select books and literary magazines, as well as a prominently displayed honor roll of publishers whose books it offers. Since many of these publishers are themselves small independent outfits, there’s a strong spirit of mutual support at work in the enterprise. A detailed explanation of the Pub’s business model is available on their FAQ page.
I’m intrigued by The Lit Pub as a business venture, a social experiment, and just possibly, as the start of a reverse trend within the bookselling industry. I’ve noticed that tight-knit online social groups—be they regular commenters on a forum or regular players of a game—tend to converge toward real-world meetups and activities. If The Lit Pub is truly successful in forging bonds among staff, customers, and even business partners, I wonder whether Gaudry and company won’t someday try to supplement their online presence with a brick-and-mortar operation somewhere. In other words, whether a new model for indie booksellers might be to build up communities on the Web, then entice a portion of them offline—rather than the other way around. (Of course this is pure speculation on my part, but still, isn’t the possibility embedded in the new site's name? Mightn’t a literary pub eventually want to offer some tables, chairs, and pints of Guinness along with the books?)
UPDATE 6:15 PM: In an exchange via email, Molly Gaudry confirms that brick-and-mortar is a possibility that's been hovering in the back of her mind: "We're not ruling it out, anyway." For now, she says, The Lit Pub is focused on the challenge of finding their footing online, where they face as much competition from Amazon as any other indie bookstore. Still, if they ever do open a physical location, it would far surpass my modest vision: "I've been dreaming about one day fixing up an old roller skating rink. I'd like the outer walls to be bookshelves with sliding ladders that go up to an upstairs loft filled with tables and couches, coffee shop style. In the downstairs snack bar area, we'd turn that into an actual bar. There would be books everywhere. And roller skating....And author events, etc. It's a weird daydream." Maybe so, but on the other hand, if you're hoping to reinvent the bookstore, why not the roller rink too?
Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Long hidden under trees, it's utterly massive
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Christmas has many pagan and secular traditions that early Christians incorporated into this new holiday.
- Christmas was heavily influenced by the Roman festival of Saturnalia.
- The historical Jesus was not born on December 25th as many contemporary Christians believe.
- Many staple Christmas traditions predated the festival and were tied into ancient pagan worship of the sun and related directly to the winter solstice.
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