|analytical Q||May-Aug 2000||Sept-Dec 2000||Contact||Discussion|
There's something awfully cozy about snuggling up with a book next to an imaginary fireplace in the winter. I do most of my offline reading on the tube, in the bathroom, or in the kitchen. All of these places are not comfortable, and I would never fall asleep in those positions.
Online, however, I read news and articles. A recent article in the magazine Link Up (Nov/Dec 2000) featured independent booksellers on the web. Most people probably only heard of the online giants like Amazon.Com and Barnes and Noble. The small entrepreneurs sell a limited list of hand-selected titles with a generous splash of local colour.
London's Charing Cross Road (tube station: Leicester Square) is famous for its bookshops. I used to only visit the most comprehensive store Foyle's until learned that other stores were more interesting. Owners of second-hand bookstores love to read and are quite knowledgeable about what is stocked. Keeping a bookshop is an extension of their lifelong love of reading. Specialist bookstores like Watkins and the Silver Moon are manned or "womanned" by experts in their fields.
One of my favourite secondhand shops has devoted its basement to secondhand music. I have spent many an afternoon in the cold, dusty, and damp. After several trips over several years, I built myself a rare collection of a vast repertoire of mostly piano music. Some of these editions are no longer in print. My music collection is probably my most valuable possession.
Would books go away now that everything is online? I think not. Nothing beats holding a book in your hands.
Independent online bookshops:
Between the Covers: regional authors in Telluride, Colorado
Square Books: literary connections, all-star cast
Old Harbor Books: books on Alaska, local weather conditions
BookTraders Bookstore: inventory of collectibles online, book auction
Clues Unlimited: first edition whodunnit
Abraham Lincoln BookShop in Chicago
Bookweb: directory of independent local shops organised by state
Esowon Books: African-American interests
Storyopolis: order highly customised gift baskets
Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe: Washington DC and its global community
Simon Wiesenthal Museum for Tolerance: against racism
Independent Online Booksellers Association: glossary and more