We don't want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let's mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that's just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!
There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they're easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves. Stockpile children's books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they'll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books.
Today, I discovered that the American Association of Publishers is also getting in on the act, with their new website,Books Are Great Gifts, which includes a lot of resources on books and authors. So I encourage everyone who is still trying to figure out what gifts they are getting friends to consider books.
(And I would be remiss not to mention that personally, I think that I Remember the Future would make a most excellent gift as well. And I'm not alone; I know of a few folks out there who had me sign copies as gifts to friends and family.)