There are two major chains of bookstores in Finland, Akateeminen Kirjakauppa (Academic Bookstore) and Suomalainen Kirjakauppa (Finnish Bookstore). Both of them used to be pretty decent and have interesting books on sale, but not anymore.
Most cities in Finland seem to have the Finnish Bookstore, whereas the Academic Bookstore has outlets only in the bigger cities. This is one reason I, and probably others as well, have viewed the Academic Bookstore as more prestigious. The town I studied in years ago only had the Finnish Bookstore, however that store too had interesting books on sale. That was 10-13 years ago. This changed about 5 years ago. Nowadays the bookstore has only superficial, main-stream books. Basically nothing I find of interest or of significance, except maybe for some science fiction or fantasy novels, but those too are overpriced.
The Academic Bookstore used to have books on esoteric subjects just a few years ago. My local bookstore here in Turku even had a couple of books by David Icke on sale. However, that too has changed. Recently the whole store was reorganized and gone were the alternative stuff. I recently visited their store in Helsinki, and the same thing had happened over there. Just a year ago I visited that store and I remember seeing stuff such as The Book of the Law by Aleister Crowley and some book on alchemy. Not the kind of stuff you buy as a Christmas present for your uncle. Nowadays the purpose of these bookstores is mere entertainment, not education or intellectual development.
I am not saying that reading David Icke or Aleister Crowley will make you a better person necessarily, but they do provide information that differs from the consumerist main-stream books. Nowadays Finnish Bookstores and Academic Bookstores don’t have the variety that they used to provide in the past.
Sure, there are smaller bookstores that have other types of books, and of course you can order them online, yet I find it rather disappointing and alarming that these big chains have been deliberately dumbed down. I cannot help but see it as part of a political agenda.
I wonder if the same phenomenon is happening in other countries? Are the bookstores being dumbed down there too?