But Now ...
Today, the movie would be about the big store's employees begging for work at the little indie shop, or one like it. Or anywhere, really.
Indie bookstores are doing extremely well right now, showing steady growth over the past decade even as retail trends keep looking grimmer and grimmer. Brick-and-mortar retailers in general are in decline, but brick-mortar-and-paper? Seven straight years of growth. Meanwhile, Borders completely shut down operations in 2011, as did their subsidiary for bored mall-goers, Waldenbooks. Of the big chains of old, only Barnes & Noble is still hanging in there, not taking the hint. Even as physical books have pulled a vinyl and made a comeback, B&N's sales continue to struggle. People love books almost as much as they hate going to Barnes & Noble.
When you think about it, this reversal of fortune makes total sense. Megastores were all about convenience, huge selections, and low prices, but the internet kicked their asses on every single one of those areas. Big bookstores are empty experiences -- unlike indie stores, where you can get access to special events, personalized attention, and the occasional contact high.
So basically, if You've Got Mail were made today, Meg Ryan's vibrant store of regulars would be enjoying modest but steady success, while Tom Hanks would be purging employees left and right as his bloated warehouse-style business got crushed by Amazon.
Warner Bros. Pictures