Very rarely do I wade into the waters that could potentially be a mine field, however…
News of the REDgroup going into voluntary administration, although not unexpected, has placed the publishing world in limbo. Whether or not the reports in the media are a true reflection of the industry remains to be seen, but as avid reader and author, I just wanted to put my thoughts, on book shops “out there”!
Recent events in my life, have seen me sitting in hospitals for long periods of time – to cart books with me (what else would I do other than read?) and knowing I’d read more than one book in the time I had, would mean carting two or three with me. I had access to an iPad and was quite keen try it, to have books downloaded and read on it, which I did.
I loved having the use of the iPad – I enjoyed being able to access the internet, read everything was at my finger tips, carrying only a small piece of light equipment, not lugging heavy books.
However, the night after reading a whole book on the iPad, I was reduced to a vomiting mess, with a migraine – something I’ve never had before. I can’t say for sure that it was reading on the iPad that caused it, but I will say that I won’t be reading on an iPad again.
In the country, we often don’t have access to book shops. (I can remember that was one of the treats when we arrived in the city – browsing around the book stores, basking in the magic of them, wondering what treasures I’d find, what places I could be taken, all from a book.) So yes, country people often have to use online shopping, or postage order companies to buy the books they want – I guess neither the iPad nor the online shopping have helped our bookstores, although I know that Australia hasn’t jumped onto e-reader/e-books band wagon as much as the US readers have.
I believe there are other factors involved in the loss of the book shop – large chain retailers, for one, but I’m not here to mouth off about companies that sell books.
What I want to ask you try, is to walk into a book shop and stop. Close your eyes and see if you can feel that atmosphere that radiates from them – can you feel your skin prickle with excitement? Can you feel that ‘crack’ as you open a brand new book, smell the print on the pages and get lost in the words? Could your children spend hours in the Kids section, reading the back of the books, not able to decide which one they want to read – they’re too many good ones? Doesn’t it just make you shiver with excitement?
We have one book store in Esperance – an independent one. I spend a lot of time in there, browsing, buying and they’ve been huge supporters of my books. I was thrilled to see, the week after Christmas, their store practically empty – they were desperate for more orders to arrive so they could fill their shelves again – that’s how book shops should be.
Yes, I also buy online – mainly from Booktopia, but I also spend a lot of money in the actual stores themselves. If you are a reader and you love books, go and buy a book from a book shop, today.
And spare a thought for the people who may lose their jobs, from this fallout.
(Views in this blog are mine only)