I heart bookshops

Today I went for a lovely meander through Borders bookshop.  Mmmm…delightful!

There is nothing like the smell of a bookshop, and with the increasing popularity of e-readers, book covers seem more attractive than ever.  Publishers seem to not only be ramping up the quality of book cover artwork, but the range in textures is booming: there are books that feel fabric covered, books with pliable canvas-type wrapping, and reprints of classics like Wuthering Heights in black embossed moleskin-like covers, complete with elastic binding strap.

I love paper printed, holdable, page-turnable books.

But…I also love my Kindle.

One one hand this is not a new space to be in.  Remember when we all started getting iPods?  And getting all worried about the relevance/importance of our CD collections, complaining about how cover art would be lost along with a sense of ‘the album’ as people started buying more singles?  It turns out that for me, this hasn’t really been too troubling – I buy most music electronically now, but I do still tend to buy albums rather than singles, and many albums do come with their album artwork, albeit in an electronic file.  I don’t at all miss having a bazillion identical (breakable) plastic cases to house my music in, and when someone who I’m a real ‘fan’ of releases an album…well, I do still tend to buy the CD!  For a few, I even have bought a vinyl copy.

I wonder how long it will take for self-proclaimed bibliophiles to strike a similar level of comfort with the move to electronic readers?

Are they really that committed to filling vast walls of space in their houses with shelves of dusty once-read (and never-read) books?  (my inner cynic says: ‘but how else will they be able to show visitors how terribly well-read they are??)

Or are they just worried that using a Kindle is going to kill the book store?  I confess that being in the book store today did make me stop on this particular concern.

But CDs are still around, and books are WAY cooler as objets d’art than CDs ever were.  So perhaps it’s time to relax.

  1. #1 by David Chapman on May 16, 2010 - 9:30 pm

    Ah – this is exactly what I have been talking about with friends in the last couple weeks. I think I may end up like the odd few who hang on to their vinyl. I want to keep my books. Mind you I do not have a Kindle (yet) or an iPad (yet). I do believe it is in the near future as the price and immediacy or new books certainly beckons.

    However, I look over my couple thousand books (okay shared with my partner, she is also an English teacher), and I could not bare to lose any of them. We tried to cull during a house move last Christmas and after a couple hours we had found eight books we could bring ourselves to donate. Eight out of 2000+.

    The next generation though… will they think me simply odd? Besides, my dream is to exit teaching and run a small shop “Black Books” style.

  2. #2 by Kerri Beezley on May 17, 2010 - 7:24 pm

    My Kindle just arrived last Friday and I have fallen in lust with it straight away. Until the Christmas holidays I had a house full of books – I worked in a second hand bookshop for a few years. When we moved we decided to cull our book collection. I was a reluctant culler until I had a closer look at all my books – I didn’t like the yellowed pages or the musty smell as I flicked through the pages. I do love the smell of new books and the feel of the pages when you first open a new book but I have decided that I will now only buy paper copies of art books and those that depend on high quality graphics. And I will make sure that they are stored properly! This means that I can still spend time browsing through Borders and indulging in the sensory experience that that is!

  3. #3 by Graham on May 18, 2010 - 7:48 pm

    Pity about Borders. Virtually every bookshop is preferable to Borders. The independents are much more fun. At home, my preference is for Melb Uni Bookshop and Readers Feast. I’ve just come back from Auckland , and the highlight of the trip was trawling the second hand bookshops. It’s like op-shopping, and in many cases, the books have a history, and ocasionally come with ‘found objects’. One book I picked in the bookshop in the wharf at Devonport Auckland was a letter dated in the 1960’s about the subject (maths).

  4. #4 by kmcg2375 on May 19, 2010 - 12:53 am

    Ha – Graham I like all bookshops!
    (And I’m a die hard mall-rat so the ‘big-bads’ are staple 😉 )
    Found objects are fantastic though, and for indie bookshops, Gleebooks is my favourite.

  5. #5 by TroyMartin on May 22, 2010 - 8:17 pm

    It won’t take long for the conversion. But like my father with music- having LP, CD and Mp3 versions- will normal. I hope!
    I concur about bookshops. This is what I did before travelling to London: http://maps.google.com.au/maps?hl=en&tab=wl&q=London%20bookshops, then of course, Paris http://maps.google.com.au/maps?hl=en&tab=wl&q=Paris%20bookshops

    While I also prefer the smallish, the unqiue, but it is hardfor book lovers living in the suburbs. That’s the power of the Kindle. I am thinking my HSC markers money for one.
    Graham, Borders, when new to Australia, was exactly like a Readings on heat. But since Angus and Robertson brought the name, it has turned into a larger Big W.

  6. #6 by kaylene.mccormick on May 26, 2010 - 9:01 pm

    Like you I love books and bookstores. There is nothing like curling up on a rainy night like this with a treasured tome in hand exploring the worlds of yesteryear. give me a Jane Austen novel any day. There is nothing like the smell of the glue and ink and you bend the cover back on a new book only far enough not to leave a scar on its spine. I am not sure how good it would feel to be snuggle up with a hard, plastic object and thumb through the pages digitally. Do you get the same sense of anticipation excited turning a page waiting for the story to unfurl even more???

    The Kindle would save me a few hassles with the hubby as well. I constantly justify why I am adding a new book to the lithely waning moon shaped shelves of my four bookcases. it would also help me to avoid the crushing cull that I have had to endure several times of the past fifteen years as I reached their capacities.

    As the near buyer of a Dymocks bookstore last year I can see that Kindle will have an impact on book sales and as a result we changed our minds about the purchase. I will move into this new technology and I am sure I will become addicted to it just as easily.

    I know what I want for my 40th Birthday now. Thanks!!!

  7. #7 by kmcg2375 on May 27, 2010 - 1:27 am

    Kaylene, you will love it! I have found it passes the bed test with flying colours – you know that feeling when you have a heavy book and your wrists get tired of holding it up? or it gets hard to read one side of the page depending on which side you are lying on? kapow! problem solved by ultra-light techie version! I can read it from so many angles! And yes, the page turning suspense is definitely still there (and you can enlarge and decrease the font size depending according to preference – a big plus), but no, the paper and glue smell is not.

    I only worry about what happens if I lose my kindle. I would lose ALL MY BOOKS? I think you can back them up though, I just haven’t yet.

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