Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The future of book shops

A friend who has just returned from a 6 week trip in the US read my blog post yesterday about how we find books and made some interesting observations.

"The change in the US was dramatic since I was there 4 years ago. In 2008, Borders had huge bookshops that doubled up as centres for students to write essays, friends to meet and chat over coffee etc. My favourite was just off Union Square in SF. I recall it being open until 11 pm or even midnight. It was 3 or 4 storeys high; huge. Such a lovely, contemplative and creative atmosphere. All gone. The only bookshop I saw in the States was in a small university town (San Luis Obispo) and Chicago airport.   By contrast, coffee shops seem to be doing even better than 4 years ago. In some Starbucks, there are long, old fashioned wooden tables for people to place their laptops side by side to each other. A good, communal atmosphere."

Although I have noticed how in the UK we have lost more and more bookshops overs the years (and this trend started well before the advent of e-readers) I didn’t know the extent of this elsewhere. After libraries, bookshops used to be my favourite places, yet since I began using Amazon, and especially since I got my kindle, I don’t go to bookshops very often now.  I’m reading more, though, because I can download books so easily onto my kindle.   What will happen to books if bookshops disappear?  This is currently being much debated.    So I was very interested to  come across this article in the Huffington Post, which put forward this opinion:

"Instead of killing physical books, ebooks have actually encouraged a new level of fetishization of the printed page. Beautifully made editions that sit as objets d'art on the shelf or coffee table, are becoming more prevalent.
I know from recent discussions with a publishing consultant, who works with writers to produce indie published print books, that her business is booming right now.  And another publisher I have previously worked with is developing a range of special edition print books that can be cherished for their quality and aesthetic appeal. I’ve always believed that print and ebooks can complement each other and encourage more people to discover the pleasures of reading.

You can read the full article here – very thought provoking. 

No comments:

Post a Comment