Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Bookshops versus online shopping

A work colleague sent me a link to this article listing the author's pick of the twenty most beautiful bookshops in the world and I just had to share it. I reckon it would be possible to organise an interesting 'round the world trip based on these locations...with plenty of reading time in between - and lots of posting crates of books home as you go... I posted three crates of books back to Australia from Florence when I was there for a month in 2005!

Seriously though, I do get the convenience of shopping online. And I get that sometimes it's cheaper. And I get that there are some books you can't get easily and that offers a simple solution. However, I don't believe that browsing on a screen and 'adding to cart' can ever replace the multiple pleasures of browsing the shelves and stumbling across treasures you may not have expected to find - and we all know how guilty of that I can be... It's also about relationships. When we patronise a bookshop regularly, we build relationships with the staff, we preserve an element of the villages we have all but lost - particularly those of us who live in big cities. With our recent house move, I now need to get in the car and drive to Oscar and Friends, where I used to be able to walk around the corner. I don't have a neighbourhood book shop any more, and that's sad. I don't lack for bookshops, but it just takes more planning to get to them. However, that's not enogh reason for me to start shopping online - they're not that far away!

This is Shakespeare and Company in Paris, France... Click on the link above to read the article and see the other places - they're just amazing... If you have a favourite bookshop, send me a pic and I'll post it!


  1. To get to a good bookshop now I have to travel nearly two hours to Brisbane but I do have two favourite stores there I try to visit whenever I am in Brisbane, and always buy something, as to the local options, well I have just about given up. I do still buy some things locally but mostly I just end up incredibly frustrated, book depository and most recently ebay have become where I source much of what I read. I do miss good bookshops though, after moving from Canberra back to a rural backwater, the thing I missed most was the bookshops. I have always loved the discovery of a surprising treasure on a bookshop shelf, so many good books I would have missed out on if it had not been for a good bookshop and the joy of browsing.

  2. I remember a road trip I did with my mother through Victoria, the summer before she died. We didn't really plan anything, we just drove and stopped when something caught our eye - the two main 'somethings' being bookshops and galleries. I was staggered by the diversity of second hand and antiquarian booksellers in rural Victoria, and we did have a rather large line up of boxes in the back of the car by the time we were heading back to South Australia.

    However, that was a very different situation to living in a rural area where, I imagine, if you're anything like me, you've probably stripped all your local second hand dealers of anything worthwhile by now, and that does make it frustrating. Plus, while I love trawling the secondhand shops for out of print treasures, that doesn't deal with the craving for something new.