Friday, July 1, 2011

A Rant With Which I Happen To Agree

Spotted on Shelf Awareness:

"Some tough bookstore love from Gawker's Hamilton Nolan: "You think the owner of that book store doesn't know what you're doing? Oh, they know exactly what you're doing. You say you 'love' books? You say you enjoy perusing the soothing aisles of a book store, so lovingly curated by a book store owner who spends his or her life ensuring that the very latest and most interesting book selections are there, presented for you in the most interesting possible way? You like that a lot? Yeah. So you can go home and order that shit online.... Book stores do not exist just to show off book covers so you know what you want to order from Amazon! You ungrateful bastards!"

I do love a good rant. Of course, my language is more temperate, but I do agree with the sentiments.

I am, I admit, slightly weird. (Only slightly, you understand.) Although I am very progressive politically, I do have a side of me that would be quite at home wearing a monocle and having a scotch at my Gentlemen's Club. Call it my "Inner Old Buffer," if you will.

Had I lived in a different time I would no doubt have spent my days bemoaning the passing of steam engines. I do remember mourning the change from the pound note to the pound coin. I was suspicious of microwaves, doubtful of computers, and swore I would never blog. Now look at me. My wife claims that she needs only to sow a seed in my mind and wait... perhaps wait a while... for the eventual harvest.

I love books. The smell of their pages, the heft of them, and the fact that they colonize my house. I do not own an e-reader, and probably won't until they stop publishing printed books the way they've stopped producing video tapes. And one thing I will mourn, with all my soul, is the coming extinction of the book store.

Practically everyday I see the obituaries written, venerable book stores closing their doors. I will miss spending a quiet hour or two in their sanctuaries, leafing through volumes whose titles or covers take my fancy. (Unlike the anonymous browser being excoriated above, I do not troop off to order from Amazon--though I am not so pure as to never visit a library in search of something I think I might love.)

Do you love book stores? Do you have a favorite?


  1. I miss the Elliot Bay Book Company like the dickens. I haven't been there for years.

    I recently got a Kindle as a gift, and last night I started reading my first book on it. There are some cool parts, being an environmentalist I like the no trees aspect, but there is still a carbon footprint. And the thing is. So far? I really prefer reading real books.

    My mind may change here when we go out of town later this month, because I already have like 50 classic public domain books on the thing (they're free) and that will be nice on long flights, but man I love real books.

  2. Ah - but I buy my eBooks from Waterstone's. Does that count? I really think I should be able to go to bookshops and download what I want there (as well as being able to do it online of course)

  3. RANT Why does everyone buy Kindle? It's tied in to Amazon. You can't read anything on it except Amazon's own programs. THAT is restrictive practice. Promote the Sony eReader, which allows you to obtain books from anywhere BUT Amazon. /rant

  4. My favorite is right there in Portland, Powells. How can anyone not love it?
    Good rant!

  5. I enjoy reading from my Kindle in bed because it's very light. Otherwise I read 'proper' books and love the smell and look and feel of them.

  6. I've always been an avid reader, but never much of a bookstore browser. Like with any kind of shopping I do, when I shopped books, I was always straight in and then out. I've certainly had a romanticized notion of books because my parents' home is filled with them, but I hate clutter and paper in general, and so I guess I'm not so sentimental that I feel the need to do the same. My Kindle, on the other hand, is LOADED. I feel sad that small business owners are losing their livelihood, for sure, though. That doesn't seem right.

  7. Agree....I just purchased 3 books..real books at a real bookstore today...and gladly


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