Bookstores might close. Libraries might cut back services. Readers might grow scarce. But the need to have stories survives.
"There was a headline I read that said books are dead," said Jarrett Krosoczka, author of children's books "Punk Farm" and the "Lunch Lady" series. "I think that is very short-sighted, because stories will never be dead. The fact there are all of these e-readers shows the demand for stories. Having a physical book store is an integral part of our society. (The ability) to be able to walk into a book store and get a recommendation by someone passionate at book selling is needed.
"Likewise with libraries. Too often people look at libraries as just a place to borrow books. But a library is a place you can walk into and have an intelligent conversation with someone who will listen to your interest until you have the exact book you want to read."
The literary landscape of Henderson has changed as the economy has struggled and society has evolved.
But libraries, authors and book stores have found a way to maintain the power of the story.
SURVIVING A RECESSION
Shereen Hale, owner of the Book Boutique, 19 W. Pacific Ave., said even though bigger book stores, such as Borders, have closed, her book store still is open for business and has been for four years.
"I think, especially with the economy, people are searching for deals," Hale said. "It might not be good for Borders, but it has been good for me."
Hale estimates that she gets 50 customers a week.
"A lot of them are repeats," Hale said. "I have regulars who come in once a month to stock up on books. Then they come back the next month for more."
Tom Fay, executive director of Henderson Libraries, said about 165,000 Henderson residents have library cards.
"We usually have about 25,000 new people a year," Fay said. "And that number is growing."
With money being tight, people have returned to the library for resources such as books and DVD rentals.
But the district has had to tighten its belt to meet its budget. The One Book Henderson program, which encouraged readers to participate in events and activities centered around a single book, had to be cut. In its wake, Fay said, the district promotes a statewide reading program, Nevada Reads. This year was the first time the program was offered. From August to November, groups and organizations throughout the state held discussions and events around the book "Friendly Fallout 1953."
Henderson Libraries had an event Oct. 22 with author Ann Roland.
More information about Nevada Reads is available at facebook.com/nevadareads.
FOLLOWING THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION
The ability to read and collect books has gone digital with the development of e-readers such as Kindles, Nooks and iPads.
Henderson Libraries started offering book checkouts for people with electronic devices.
"We are buying more of that material," Fay said. "We, in our strategic plan for the next five years , are going to be ramping up more of our budget toward that material."
Fay said that in the next five years, an estimated 35 to 50 percent of the budget that goes toward purchasing new materials might go toward electronic materials.
"It is something people are asking about," Fay said. "Now that we can provide Kindle format, which has happened in the last month, people are asking for it more."
Fay said checking out e-books, opposed to buying them, makes sense .
"People don't want to spend $18 or $20 per book," Fay said. "Then you have to deal with cleaning out your electronic book shelf so it's not too full and operates better."
Hale said plenty of her customers also have e-readers.
"It hasn't impacted me," Hale said. "People are finding authors they like and decide they want to read the back list of books they might not be able to download. Other bigger book stores might not carry those books because they are older, which keeps me in business."
Residents can visit www.mypublic library.com and click the download tab to find information about checking out e-books from Henderson Libraries.
BEING AN AUTHOR
Henderson resident Robyn Carr has been an author for 35 years.
"The publishing industry has changed 15 times over since," Carr said.
When Carr first started, she said the only way to showcase her books was through libraries.
"They were my biggest customers ," Carr said. "My first eight books were just at the library."
But then bigger bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders started developing, offering more outlets for Carr to show her work.
The industry has changed again with digital publishing.
"As an author, digital publishing has helped," Carr said. "Digital books never go away."
Carr is re-releasing her older works for fans who would like to read them.
"The fact that it's green is really exciting," Carr said.
To adapt with the times and expand as a writer , Carr has switched genres from historical fiction to romance and contemporary novels.
She continues to write books as part of her Virgin River series, which has 16 books. In January, she plans to release her newest book, "Hidden Summit."
With all the changes in genres and outlets to showcase her work , the one thing that remains constant is publishing books.
"It has always been a hard and very competitive industry," Carr said.
The APPLE Partnership started in 2004, bringing together the city of Henderson, Henderson Libraries, private businesses and the Clark County School District to encourage children to become better and more engaged readers.
Bud Cranor, a spokesman with the city of Henderson, said the program tracks reading levels and promotes a reading hour. Schools with the best reading hours can receive prizes.
But the best prize of all is seeing young readers excited to pick up a book.
"There was a situation where we had a kid in a Safekey program who had a lot of behavioral problems and was really struggling," Cranor said. "We started the APPLE Partnership, and this kid got hooked on the 'Star Wars' series. It gave him the focus he needed, and there was a complete turn around for him."
The program also has a celebration week when a popular children's book author comes to the schools to talk about reading and writing.
Krosoczka came to Henderson in October to speak to the youths as part of the APPLE Partnership.
"I come into the schools and tell them about the process of writing and how to be an author," Krosoczka said. "I start by showing them books I wrote when I was in the third grade."
Krosoczka said by validating what the students are currently writing, it might show them they are already authors.
"You don't have to be published and have your works in the library to be an author," Krosoczka said. "I talk about the revision process and writing rough drafts, which validates what their teachers are telling them to do."
Children have to earn their author visit by logging reading hours at school.
"Giving them this incentive encourages them to read more without squashing their love of reading," Krosoczka said. "It encourages love of reading."
The children read the author's books before he comes to their schools.
"To be able to see the person who wrote the book in front of them makes (reading) come alive," Krosoczka said.
In general, Fay said, the number of readers, including adults, was down about a decade ago.
"They've done recent studies," Fay said. "People are reading more. I think it is because of the e-reader you see people reading. It gives people more access to books."
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 387-5201.