In this age of digital advance where everything you can think of can be accessed over the internet, immediately available via laptops, mobile phones etc, is the 'old-fashioned' book on its last legs?
Well if you listen to the news regularly, you'd be under the impression that all book shops are failing and closing, no one's interested in reading anymore and books are relegated to boxes in the attic for future generations to look at in awe. Depressing, yes, but in reality far from the truth.
When I planned to open my small book shop I was amazed by the reaction of local people. The positivity that surrounded the idea and the enthusiasm with which it was received was incredible. They couldn't wait for us to open. "We love book shops" was the cry from most people, and as we have progressed over the first few months, the day to day vibe has continued to build on that enthusiasm.
We can't stop progress and must embrace the techno advances that make our artistic and intellectual lives richer. The ipad, kindle and various e-readers that are available have their place, but most of my customers who have these devices still continue to buy books and to relish in the physicality of them.
As I look around the shelves and displays I am intrigued and excited by the unlimited variety of colourful covers that summon me to look closer, to take hold of them and investigate their hidden treasures. The excitement that grabs me as I ponder the endless originality and inventiveness of the authors packed side-by-side, what choice there is. Am I just biased as I peruse my own little private Aladdin's Cave? Or is it the same spark of adventure I see in each person who comes through my shop door, eyes searching for that glimpse of the treasure for which they search. Each book presents an individual experience, from its look, its feel, its thickness, its captivating cover, the intrigue of its précised script, the indulgence of opening to its first pages, could this be the one?
I would be the first to hold my hands high and admit my romanticism for books and reading, but it is a fact that the physical sensation of books is yet to be electronically superseded and the enthusiasm for books is still evident in the vast majority of readers. Viva libros !
Photo credit: Elliot Margolies