I didn’t need to spend a day in a bookshop to remember how special they are. It’s not just the peace and tranquillity they offer, the soft music in the background, the wonderful range of titles. It’s so much more…
Yes, I have a kindle too, and do read titles on there. But I can’t wean myself away from the feel and texture of real books. I love to keep my favourites on one of our five bookshelves at home, and stare at them, even pick them up and read excerpts from time to time.
I’ll admit it, I buy off Amazon. Who doesn’t these days? It’s so convenient: you search for your title, press a button, delivery is free and, if buying a paperback, you can look forward to a nice surprise dropping through the postbox in amongst the daily junk. But taking time to wander around a bookshop, touch the books, read blurbs, excerpts, look at covers… For some reason it transports me into a whole different world.
And then there are the staff, who seem to read everything and be able to find the book you want from as little information as possible, or suggest similar titles you may like based on their own reading experience.
They also organise events such as book signings and launches where you get to meet and interact with your favourite authors, which for any reader is a magical event. I remember attending the book launch of Jeffery Deaver’s Carte Blanche, the latest James Bond novel, where he talked about his writing life, his influences, his favourite reads; all fascinating.
Sitting in stores over the last couple of weeks has reminded me how important our bookshops are and how they still have a role in today’s internet led society. It shouldn’t be a case of Amazon or Waterstones. In my mind they complement each other, and there is a place for both to give us a rich choice in our shopping experience. I’ve definitely resolved to spend more time in my local store over the coming months, browsing through new titles and soaking up the atmosphere.
Also, book shops offer a wonderful opportunity for both new and established writers to reach out and share their work with the wider community. As a new writer, the recent signings I’ve done have certainly enabled me to meet a whole new audience of interesting readers.
With this is mind, I’d like to end by saying a huge thanks to Lindy and all the wonderful ladies at Waterstones, Kettering who organised my book signing last Saturday and worked so hard to make it special; and extend gratitude to our friends, and the lovely people of Kettering who stopped by.