The Barnes & Noble nearest me, the one downtown, at 12th and E, will be closing this December.
The joys of the inevitable closing sales are not mitigants enough to make up for the loss. Yes, Capitol Hill Books is very close to my home and, yes, there are many great indie bookstores in Washington, DC, but this store, owned by a huge, evil corporation though it is, fulfills a very particular and useful function in my life.
Whenever we go downtown to see a movie, either at Chinatown for the big blockbusters of the E Street Cinema for the cool foreign, indie, and documentary movies, this Barnes & Noble provided a welcome space for a bookish type like me to browse and shop. Besides the fact that the only place to buy books downtown now is Urban Outfitters (and I’m making an angry and melancholy joke here, because humorous books about poop and cats and 99 ways to ruin good scotch by mixing it with other things do not feed my soul), it represents a kind of ‘third space,’ a welcoming, public location for people. That, and it has a huge selection of scifi and fantasy paperbacks.
Politics and Prose is a better bookstore, but it’s not half as close nor a third as easy to get to; Capitol Hill Books is a used bookstore, which is a different kind of space, and doesn’t serve coffee.
And… it’s just sad when a bookstore closes.