March 25, 2020
By Julie Moran Alterio
Whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow on Friday, Arlene Lynes expects to see plenty of sales at her bookstore, located in the center of one of the country’s biggest Groundhog Day celebrations.
Read Between the Lynes is right on the village square in Woodstock, Illinois, the filming location for the enduringly popular 1993 movie Groundhog Day.
Between 3,000 and 5,000 visitors are expected to arrive in town beginning February 1 for the annual Groundhog Days weekend, which includes weather predictions from the town’s own groundhog, “Woodstock Willie,” at 7:07 a.m. on Friday.
For instance, if I want to buy a book I have to walk almost four blocks, and pretty long blocks they are, to After-Words, a two-level shop at 23 E. Illinois St. (www.after-wordschicago.com) that contains 70,000 new and used books. Google Maps tells me that the walk is only .02 miles, but it sure does seem longer.
Still, as tough as I may have it—sometimes it is raining or very hot or snowing — I can barely imagine the difficulties others have getting their hands on a book. Some people even have to get in their cars and drive to a bookstore.
It is so, so easy to just flip open your iPad or other gizmo and, faster than you can get a burger and fries at McDonald's, have your book delivered to your device.
I have seen people reading these e-books on buses. At least I think they are reading books. They might be playing Candy Crush or Panda Pop or one of those other intellectual diversions. There is an argument to be made, and it's a good one, that a lot of people have started reading much more than they did before because of the ease and convenience of e-readers.
And yet bookstores still exist.