The author analyses the problems of erosion of the book culture and the role of bookishness in the contemporary Western and Russian identities. While analysing the processes of disappearance and displacement of bookshops, the author presumes that culture of bookstores and communication subcultures in them cannot compete with networks and e-commerce. It is assumed that the logic of capitalism favours the progress of on-line bookstores, specialising in the serial and mass literature while independent bookstores prefer to sell intellectual, non-fiction, and academic books that are not interesting to consumer readers of mass culture. The author tries to analyse causes of private non-mass bookstores crisis. The author believes that intellectuals of 2000s were optimistic in their prognosis for the development of bookstores as spaces of cultural initiatives. By the end of 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of independent bookstores decreased significantly when on-line bookstores occupied their place. It is assumed that the cultures of reading, book collections, personal libraries lost the positions they held in the 20th century and even in the first decade of the 21st century. The author presumes that independent bookstores became cultural ghettos and intellectual reservations, when net bookstores became successful actors of the mass culture. In general, it is predicted that heterogeneous, regionally localised minority book cultures and reading strategies of the New Medievalism may replace the “mass” book as a cultural institution of a modern political imagined communities as elements of the dying Gutenberg Galaxy with its heterogeneous national identities.
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