Sunday, August 03, 2008

Cell Phones and Bookstores

I realize that bookstores are not libraries and that the same limits on loud talking that govern well-run libraries do not apply to bookstores. However, since bookstores and libraries generally draw "customers" from the same crowd, common sense tells most of us that loud talking in the bookstore aisles is frowned upon by all but the rudest among us.

This letter to the editor
of the Washington Post got me to wondering if that kind of thing bothers others as much as it does me. Apparently, it does bother the heck out of Rockville's Denny Freezer.
To Washington-area bookstore owners who may wonder why they're losing market share, I offer a suggestion: no discernible cellphone policy.

I love books, and I used to love the look, feel and smell of bookstores. But now, with the exception of some independent bookstores that do discourage cellphone use, it's no longer fun to look for books in a bookstore. It's very hard to get acquainted with a book when there's a constant stream of people roaming by while yakking on their cellphones.

Why they want to be in a bookstore anyway is beyond me; look around next time you're on Metro -- if you see someone reading a book, it's probably me. Most others have no need to carry a book because they're either yakking on their cellphones or carefully studying their screens for inspiration.

There are no cellphones to contend with when I shop for books on the Web!


I know it's hopeless to expect that people who are oblivious enough to shout into their cell phones in public places will ever see themselves as the asses they are, but I do wonder what the rest of you "normal" people think. Does it bug you, too?
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