Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Save the Bookshop!!

Recently I've been thinking that the bookshop may be endangered, 'Why? you may ask. Well, with the introduction of E-books, the availability of buying books online and the average supermarket stocking all the best sellers next to the baked beans, there is becoming less reason to visit your local bookshop. However by settling with convenience, I think that you would be denying yourself a multi-sensory experience.

You may be thinking that I have completely lost the plot and that bookshops are only places selling bits of paper glued together, but in my opinion, there is so much that you can get from just walking into a bookshop.

Being the nosy type, I find that bookshops are great places to people watch. I often wonder about the people milling around the shop. I find it interesting to see which titles they are choosing and I always like to imagine why. For study? work? Or are they simply buying that copy of 'Crime and Punishment', to put on their bookshelf to make visitors think that they are cultured? Whatever the reason, observing people can be a great way to spark the imagination and that helps me with my own writing.

Also, I find that buying a book can be a provocative experience. I love book covers. Particularly the embossed ones that you can run your hand over so for me, being in a books shop gives me tactile element which I love. So a book shop, with its shelves stacked with multi-coloured, embossed books becomes something of a tempting experience. On a few occasions I've bought books, purely because I liked the look of the cover, regardless of what's inside them. In fact, I have actually discovered some of my favourite books this way.

I find second hand book buying even more interesting. Going into a second hand book shop in my opinion, is like going into a cave of discovery. Let's face it, a lot of the time second hand book shops are pretty dark and dingy, but that gloomy quality gives the whole experience a secretive, exotic feel to it.

The thing I like about buying a book in a regular book shop is the untouched cleanliness you get with a brand new book, but buying a book from a second-hand bookshop adds a completely different dimension to buying literature. As I like observing and imagining a customer's choice for buying a particular book in a regular bookshop, with a second-hand book I like to imagine the history of that item. Who was the last person to touch and read the words within the pages? Were they rich, poor? A murderer or an upstanding individual? How far back in history do you have to go, before you get to a books' FIRST owner? So many layers of history are contained within the walls of these shops that if they could talk, I think that they would tell the most fascinating of tales.

As I live abroad I don't buy as many books from a bookshop as I would like to, but I whenever I get the opportunity to do so, I will always support my local bookshop and I urge you to also. It would be a shame to see this special species, become extinct.

1 comment:

  1. i so agree ! bookshops and especially bookshop owners are a world i don't want to see vanishing...