Since the demise of Borders and Angus & Robertson people are realising how important their local bookshops really are. I understand the internet is really important for helping people decide what books to buy, whether in ebook or traditional print form, but physical bookshops have always filled that role. Where else can you actually touch the book, pick it up, read the description provided and also read bits of the book to help you decide whether it’s the book for you? Also, you can approach the staff and talk to them about different authors and books and get some further idea of if you’re going to enjoy the book. Let’s face it, you don’t want to spend $25 on a book and not enjoy it so you have to make the most of any input you’re able to get. Especially as the majority of bookshop staff are friendly, approachable and knowledgable about their product, it’s not like going to the supermarket where there’s a million and one products, the staff are paid peanuts and only know a handful of them as they use them themselves, bookshop staff are generally readers themselves and if you strike one who has the same tastes as yours then you’ll want to keep going back.
On a vaguely related note, here is an article about buying children’s books. My Little Bookcase has good articles and this one talks about the price of a picture book and where the money goes. The one thing they forget to mention is that children will often read a book many, many times. My eldest read one book so often she could just about recite it but much preferred me to read it to her, while pregnant with the youngest I must have read it 10 times at each doctor’s appointment. If you think callously about the money and break that $25 purchase down to an amount per read then you’ve only spent a few cents per read as opposed to buying a book for yourself that you only read once.
So, enjoy your local bookshop. Tomorrow is a good day for shopping there as it’s National Bookshop Day, if you don’t know where your local is then this is a good place to put in your postcode or genre and do a thorough search.