“Cheap Shots” #12: Running on Empty

Must be time for another cheap shot at something. I’m running out of things to rant about. Let’s see . . . how about the disappearance or “mainstreaming” of New Age bookshops? It’s not just the relentless rise of Amazon; it seems to me the “blush is off the rose” more than just a little. I’ve seen a handful of them come and go in my small-town area since I moved here in 1980. Another starry-eyed hopeful eventually steps in to pick up the mantle, but the complexion of these outlets is changing. Now they need bead-craft and tumbled stones and all manner of “gifty” stuff like crystals and jewelry and wall hangings and greeting cards and posters and figurines and the ubiquitous incense just to keep struggling along. The inventory of books and decks has been steadily shrinking due to high overhead costs and slow demand; the walk-in foot traffic for in-shop readings is also slack. It’s gotten to the point that Amazon has become my first stop. Shame really, when I can buy two “somethings” there for the price of one in a local shop. A positive note is the appearance on Etsy of many self-published decks. The prices may be a little steep, but I feel that I’m still championing the entrepreneurial spirit when I buy there. I have no hope that the local shops will ever be robust; I guess I need to move closer to a hub of lingering New Age enthusiasm.

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