Book Shop Saturday

I love books – you may have guessed that. Quite probably you love books too and well done to you for that. But books and book stores are coming under threat and it’s time for us to fight back.

I don’t like to blame the Kindle, the Nook and all of the other e-readers but they are at least partly culpable for the decline in independent bookshops. I have a Kindle myself, although it was given to me rather than purchased, and it is quite a lovely bit of kit. It feels nice in the hand and yes it does come in handy on trains and on holidays. I also like the idea that a popular piece of new technology is dedicated specifically to reading books.

But are they actually books or are they just collections of words on a screen? To me a book is beautifully tactile, it smells of wonder, the spine becomes lovingly creased. The actual physicality of the book is beautiful and moving, not just the content within it.

Nonetheless e-readers are here to stay, and so my forthcoming book ‘Tortoise Soup’ will be out in both physical form and e-form. To clarify my position there is nothing wrong with reading books on a Kindle as long as you actually buy physical ‘real’ books as well – we cannot let this artform slip away.

A more immediate danger to our bookstores are the supermarkets and Amazon. When supermarkets sell books at a pound each they are losing money on them but they are ‘loss leaders’ designed to bring shoppers into their aisles. These deals are killing bookstores that cannot compete with the deals, that can’t afford to lose money on the books that they sell.

Amazon also discounts books, although not to the same apocalyptic level, but the problem with Amazon is its sheer convenience. We are becoming a lazy and impatient society, so many people think: ‘why should I waste time heading to a shop when I can simply click a button and have it delivered into my hand?’.

Let me tell you why. Because we need book shops. Book shops where the staff know our name. Book shops where the staff all read books themselves and can make genuine recommendations. Book shops where the staff actually love books, just like you do. Book shops where they are prepared to take a chance on books that they will stock, that will champion new and independent voices rather than giving over all of their space to celebrity tie-ins and over-hyped blockbusters.

Let us promote this great idea of ‘Book Shop Saturday’. Make an effort to visit a real bricks and mortar book shop every weekend. Let your eyes wander and pick up something that will make your heart soar. The idea wasn’t mine – it came from the talented writer Claire King but let’s all get onboard before it’s too late. Use the hashtag #BSS on Twitter to spread the concept.

I went to a great little bookshop today – or at least I tried to, but it has closed its door for the final time. Once these shops have gone they have gone for good, let us hope that we can create a future where bookshops can flourish.

And, later this year, we will find my novel ‘Tortoise Soup’ in these lovely little bookshops. I have really appreciated your support and encouragement. To say thank you here is a cover reveal:

gtortoisesoup

This cover will look even better in the surrounds of a beautiful, independent bookshop – I hope that you agree!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. click reference
    May 19, 2013 @ 19:38:03

    Hey there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m
    going to start my own blog soon but I’m having a tough time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely
    unique. P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to
    ask!

    Reply

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