Saturday, June 30, 2007

The shop around the corner

I love reading. When I was in school, I spent many a days at a dusty bookshop with lots of books and the owner did not mind my reading half the books sitting on the floor and buying only the few that my pocket money allowed. Later, when I was working and living alone, any miserable day could be transformed by an afternoon spent in a bookshop. I loved browsing through fresh new books which had a special smell. Though bookshop chains didn't come quite as close as one where the owner actually knew about the books in stock, I still loved being in an environment surrounded by books.

Off late I have not visited a bookshop and most of my shopping happens through Amazon. The unbelievable prices and convenience of home delivery has have made it top of my favourites list. Last evening we had some friends over for dinner and we started talking about the effect of large chains on small shops which have had to close down. Today, even some of the large chains are under threat from larger online retailers. If this continues, it may not be too far away that all these shops would close and we would move to a totally online model.

To me, that is a scary thought. Imagine growing up without have bookshops around you. As a child, bookshops were a special place. They developed my interest in books and are key to my love for reading. While the Disney store and Hamleys are great stores to spend a lot of time, I would hate to deprive children the joys of being in a bookshop. While we worry about the environment, and the state we are leaving it in for future generations, I think we should think about the world without bookshops and what a sad place it would be. So expensive as they may seem, from now on, I'll try and get atleast a few books from my little book shop around the corner.


Beks (& Ro) said...

I remember when the first Landmark opened in Chennai. It was such a defining moment. I used to beg my father to take me and till quite recently it remained one of the few father- daughter bonding things we did.
Nowadays I find I like Crosswords. A far better experience.

Sonal said...

I so relate to you! I hate the idea of an e-book...there is no other pleasure than holding a book in your hands, turning pages, smelling the old/new pages of the book! :)

I have spent countless hours during engg going to the Crosswords round the corner...literally within 5 mins! And now I go to Borders sometimes - however, Amazon is my best friend! I can't wait for the book to come to me once I order its so affordable with the used books option!

sinusoidally said...

I doubt bookstores would be completely replaced by online sites, you really think so?

Grafxgurl said...

i LOVE books too. my husband doesnt understand it coz he was never and is not the reading kind.. so when he see sme kissing the cover of a suddenly found favorite book, he shakes his head at me.

recently found an awesome library.. and that made me soooooooo happy

J said...

Disappeared again...

Pea said...

Beks: But I still miss the old bookshops where the owners actually knew about books. Sometime the level of unawareness of the salespeople at these big book stores totally amazes me.

Sonal: Just don't get ebooks!

Sinusoidally: I should hope not. But if they become an infeasible business proposition, over time they are likely to fade out. Today even the big chains face huge competition from the online retailers.

Grafxgurl: During my painful job search days, the council library was such a comfort. How come Ed doesn't like reading?

J: And am back!