I was running errands in Fort Worth today and drove along a two-block stretch of Camp Bowie Boulevard where four bookstores used to be located (not all at the same time, although there was some overlap): Fantastic Worlds, which I've written about before on this blog, where I bought a lot of books and comics and made a couple of friends I still have more than 30 years later; Books Etc., the first store to sell copies of my first novel TEXAS WIND (I traded some copies to the owner for some pulps, if I recall correctly); MegaBooks, one of those madhouses of a store where there was practically no organization but where you never knew what you might find if you were willing dig around; and Bricktop Books, which I visited only once but was run by a guy I knew from other used bookstores. Further up Camp Bowie one way was Century Bookstore, where I stopped a few times. Going the other way, out of town, there was a newsstand that was in business for years, where I bought comics and magazines and the occasional paperback, and two more used bookstores that I visited only once or twice, the names of which are gone from my memory. Today you can drive the entire length of Camp Bowie Boulevard, from near downtown to where it turns into Camp Bowie West and peters out between Fort Worth and Weatherford, and I'll bet you can guess how many bookstores you'll find.
That's right. Zero. Time marches on, I guess.
1 hour ago