As long as I've been visiting or living in Asheville, I've been browsing, buying and selling my books at Downtown Books and News [“Grumbly but Great,” Jan. 30 Xpress]. DBN has literally fed me, both in knowledge and in cash for my books, and is fair with pricing and what it pays.
The staff, the selection, the space are all irreplaceable and invite browsing and just hanging out. There's even free books. If you have somehow passed them by for a larger chain, then do yourself a favor and drop by: You might come out with a whole new mindset.
I've seen the changes brought by the shift away from print, mainly in magazine selection, but Downtown Books is exactly why people still buy books. It's not just type: it's culture, it's paper, it's smell, it's touch. Like vinyl for music, real bound books will never die. Yes, the tablet will swallow up a huge segment of new titles but people will always want more than digital downloads.
I can imagine Downtown Books aging like a dusty old book, slowly yellowing on the edges, acquiring that old-book smell which I love, and continuing to serve the Asheville community with a real bookstore experience. May this city be so fortunate.
— John C. Tripp