Save Barnes & Noble

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Amazon.com says I have been a ‘member’ since 1996.  That’s 22 years of year-round shopping.  Amazon gift cards are the currency of Christmas for my nephews in Illinois.  Boxes with smiling logos addressed to me c/o the neighbors are a sure sign I’ve been doing holiday shopping for my family.

But not this year. I’m swearing off book buying from the world’s largest bookstore.  I’ll be buying at Barnes & Noble.  It's time for me to do my part to save these stores.

A table in a store, stocked with 40 different books offers a different experience than a colorful Web page with plot summaries and readers' ratings.  Not that I don't appreciate Amazon's contribution to helping me make a good choice.  But the choice is not the thing I'm necessarily in a hurry to get to.

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The book business, thanks to Amazon, is more and more Darwinian.  The big publishers and the best-selling authors grow and prosper - and not undeservedly so.  But their marketplace heat threatens to snuff otherl voices with new things to say, tell, teach, provoke, and even exhaust.  Same thing with magazines. Barnes & Noble stores show hundreds of publications.  Exploring, showing-and-telling, helping, instructing, and criticizing

If there were no Barnes & Noble stores there would be no opportunity for these voices to be heard.  Physical stores distract you from the popular - and enlighten and engage, and expose you to something new, deeper, and imaginative.

CNBC says this is a critical holiday season for Barnes & Noble.   So, I'll be buying books the old fashioned way this Christmas. At the store.

Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance

Hundreds of the finest collectible automobiles in America were on display at this year’s Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance, one of 25 such exhibitions across the country each year.  Some of the cars are worth millions of dollars, like vehicles designed and built more than 100 years ago by Emile Delahaye.

This year’s event in Hilton Head drew several hundred motorcars.  There was a Woody outfitted with a surfboard on the roof, dozens of mid-‘50s behemoths from Cadillac, Mercury, and Pontiac, early ‘60s MGBs, Packards, Stutzs, Jaguars and dozens of historic BMWs and Porsches celebrating design, power, and ... fun!

Exhibiting your car at a Concours is testament to your financial success in life.  Besides the cost iof restoring and/or maintaining your car, you also have to get your car to the events.  Often, this means hiring a truck to deliver the vehicle.

Perhaps surprisingly, owners of these almost-perfect vehicles are only too happy to talk about their cars, even though they have little to do during exhibition days than sit on folding chairs and wait for the judges to come by and calculate just how perfect the cars are.

Click on each image to see a larger version.