For years independent bookstores have been decrying the overwhelming economic power of the big box bookstores; the loss of hand selling, the loss of book shops with character, the loss of the personal touch that makes a difference when selecting a book. So it is on the same day that I am reading of financial failure of Borders Bookstore (closing will begin this Friday -- and my heart goes out to the 16,000 employees who will be looking for work) that I find out about this lovely quirky article at Flavorwire celebrating 10 Unconventional Bookstores around the world. Oh, be still my heart -- what a travel journey this would be....as long as all of them had UPS so I could ship home my purchases! These book stores range from a setting in a medieval castle in Spain, a totally sleek modern store in Brazil where even the front doors are functioning bookshelves, a book barge in England, to an apartment in NYC (see the above video) that houses roomfuls of fabulous used books. Glance through these awesome places and tell me...where would you go first?
I have been contemplating my life with books this week because I bought a kindle and yes, fell gobsmack in love with the idea. I immediately purchased half a dozen reference books I couldn't afford in hardcover or even paperback but were pretty dang cheap as an ebook. I carted all of them to my local coffee shop, and though I forgot my reading glasses -- was able to change the font and read them with no trouble. (ok...so it amounted to one sentence per page!) Do I still love the book, yes, always and truly. I love the sound of pages turning, the full sail of a page filled with words, the slowness of reading it, the notes I keep like a journal in the margins. But new technology is a sweet cousin to the library's matriarchs so I am very happy.
*special thanks to Sarah Skwire and Amy Willis for the link to the Flavorwire article!