I’m researching book mobiles and book bikes and such to figure out ways to increase literacy and the love of reading. I’m tired of blogs foretelling the death of books as a physical entity. At some point they will meet their end but we are not there yet. At the very least, rich book collectors will keep the first editions of “masterpieces” in plastic sleeves on their built-in shelves, much like a collection I saw a few weeks ago (which focused on African-American dialect written by white people, of course–ugh).
Cost and accessibility are problems: new books are expensive. Libraries and book stores are not always easy to get to, or the selection isn’t great–used bookstores especially, or once surrounded by stacks of books, you forget what you want to read, you can’t remember authors or titles picked up in friendly conversations, or the staff is nonexistent or unfriendly.
Furthermore, bookstores once doubled as the printing press or publishing house of literary reviews and magazines and were the hub where writers and readers converged (i.e. Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company, Left Bank, Paris, 1920’s) Sure, online forums are great places for that but, personally, that’s not my thing. Plus, trolls. I want to have a face to face conversation and allow my excitement to carry me into the nth cup of coffee.
Though the independent bookstore is doing well in the midst of big chain bookstores failing or downsizing, it is necessary to revamp the bookstore model. Digital books and media must be included in the selection and other revenue streams must be found….more on this later. The literary crowd of Shakespeare & Co. Sylvia Beach and James Joyce