I don’t get much of a chance to read paper books these days.
All right, that’s clearly a lie. I spend entire days reading paper books. Tiger and I share a love of the written word, and can lose whole hours lost in The Gruffalo and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. She loves having her favourites read again and again, and I love reading to her.
But as for “quiet” (i.e. Not out loud to Tiger), reading? These days, I don’t do anywhere close to as much of it as I used to. And, when I do, it’s often in eBook format, so I can read on my phone, while in bed with a sleeping Tiger.
Say what you want about eBooks, they’ve been an absolute Godsend to me during this first year of parenthood.
But, still, I love me a paper book. And I love me almost as much as the reading of a paper book, the searching for it. I love bookshops. The physical ones. I have never bought a paper book from an online retailer (though I have bought many eBooks, obviously). Don’t get me wrong: I think online bookshops provide a fantastic service – particularly to those who don’t have a local bookshop to go to. Online retailers have allowed my books to be read by people in remote regions, and those living overseas and, for that, I am eternally grateful. They help the sick and incapacitated to buy books, too, and I am very glad of that.
But, for me, there is nothing like a bookshop and, given the choice, I’ll hoof it to a physical shop rather than go online. Partly, this is because I believe in shopping locally, and in supporting your local indie retailer. We are lucky to still have a few of those left here in Tassie – I want them to stay!
Also, for me, book shopping is a treasure hunt; a kind of lucky serendipitous adventure. Some of my very favourite books have been discovered completely by accident during a lazy browse. Or, just as often, I’ve asked a bookseller for their recommendation. And, booksellers being the unique, genius breed of people they are (I should know, I used to be one), they’ve come up with the exact, perfect thing.
My husband will argue with me, but I am still yet to be convinced that some algorithm can come even close to the skills of a trained bookshop worker. They’re a magnificent species.
I want there to always be booksellers. i never want the bookshop to die. I already take Tiger to bookshops, and I want to be able to continue to do so, throughout her life.
Bookshops are my home. Book-lovers are my people. Books are my world. I want them to be Tiger’s world, too.
So, even though it’s mostly eBooks for me right now, I’m still going to bookshops as often as I can, for Tiger, and for gifts for those I love.
So my daughter can have the supreme pleasure of a book treasure-hunt, when she is my age.