I get mine from the local shop…
It’s fast and a few minutes walk from home… this is a far cry from what Nick Sherry predicted in 2011 that book stores would no longer exist in Australia by 2016. From where I sit as an author and reader, they appear to be thriving… in fact we are now well into 2015 and about to be celebrating another National Bookshop Day for very good reason. Maybe it is a case that all things ‘old’ are new again. I for one love flipping pages and finding wisdom.
In fact there are more than 900 dedicated bookshops in Australia that bring in $1.1 billion a year. and this weekend there is a festival to celebrate just that.
National Bookshop Day is this Saturday, the 8th August, and I thought it was a perfect time to reflect on the importance of a) physical books and b) supporting our local booksellers. That is the love for books amidst the relentless amounts of information available to us.
Both Brays Books and Hill of Content are my local booksellers they are institutions of our village – a meeting place for like minded people – curious about what they can discover in books.
There is something special about walking into a local bookstore. My memory is filled with images of rows and rows of wonderful smelling books, going rather high up the walls – some even with the elaborate touch of a sliding ladder to access the ones right up the top. More often than not, you will open the door to a tingle of a bell to alert the owner you have arrived. You will likely be met with a smile and a hearty welcome to the store. There is every chance that the book you have been searching for is somewhere in that store – and there is an even better chance that the owner has a) read it, and b) knows where the only copy is.
Not to say there is not a place for on-line too… but as an experience of discovery the local book store has much to offer.
My colleague Emma recently told me that while she was travelling through Japan last year, she would go into small bookshops and leave a book that she had finished reading on a bookshelf, with a little note on the inside of the cover: “I read this book while travelling through Japan in January, 2014. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Emma from Sydney.” There is something special about the relationship complete strangers can have through books. This is something to be celebrated.
Do you recall that memorable scene in Notting Hill? The awkward owner tries to impress Julia Roberts with his literary knowledge – the store is quiet; a secret escape from the outside world. Somewhere (we find out later) she goes to because it is a welcome hideaway from the loudness and busyness of the streets surrounding. Places like that are worth celebrating…
There is a special relationship we have with books. It is for this reason we must support our local bookstores. You might even like to pick up a copy of #LiveWhatYouLove while you are at it!