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Where do you buy your books?
Member Name: BizzyB
Where do you buy your books?
Date: 18/07/01, updated on 18/07/01 (40 review reads)
Advantages: Educational, Increasing choices for the buyer
Disadvantages: Book buying can be expensive and addictable
Books have been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember. From the cloth books when I was a toddler, to the Ladybird books when I learnt to read. Fiction, reference, biography?I have always had a passion for words. I think there is something innately beautiful about the printed word.
As a child I lived in a very rural area, at least three quarters of an hour from the nearest large town. One of the most memorable aspects of my childhood, stuck among the hills of Yorkshire, was the monthly visit by the mobile library. The mobile library was like a visiting treasure trove and a highlight of my first years.
As I grew older and we had the monthly trip to the nearest big shopping town one of my first visits was to a shop called Dressers. I'd go straight passed the toys, up the stairs to the book section which had a beautifully laid out children's section where the staff actively encouraged you to look at the books - I wish I could send them a back dated award for their encouragement of a young reader.
As I grew older and moved to a small town the fascination of books remained, now ingrained in me as a great treat and something to be treasured; a feeling that stays with me today. I was fortunate that in our small town we had an excellent independent bookseller. The shop was small but the owner was knowledgeable and it was obvious books were more than a living to him. He was ready to discuss, suggest and listen to your views on books. He would regularly order in books at no extra charge to the cover price however obscure the title or subject, he would not rest in his search for your request.
As a university student living in a city for the first time I was overwhelmed by the large chainstore bookstores such as Dillons, Ottakars and Waterstones. For those who have always had these shops at their disposal it may seem a little odd that I could enthuse so much about a book store. But imagine your great passion
in life and then imagine if your outlet to this was limited - it's bound to leave a lasting impression, isn't it? I have always found the larger book stores are well laid out and airy despite the massive range they carry yet they lack the intimacy and personal service of the independent bookseller, who are sadly becoming less and less frequent in our towns.
That is the potted history of BizzyB's introduction to her life of books but what of the present?
Well, it is only within recent years I have discovered the internet and one of the most talked about internet purchases is books. There is something dependable about ordering a book, something unthreatening and it is not surprising that when entering the foray of internet shopping for the first time it is a book purchase that most people plump for. With this in mind some of the most famous internet e-tailer names are those of booksellers, www.amazon.co.uk , www.bol.com , www.ottakars.co.uk for example. I was no different when I first ventured into online buying?off to amazon I clicked.
Now, remembering how astounded I was at high street stores such as Dillons can you imagine my wonder at a site like Amazon? It didn't seem to matter what I requested they had it, often with a reasonable % off, and for a small postage fee they would deliver it to my door. It was like music to the ears of a book junkie. Fiction, non-fiction, sports titles, specialist sociology books...it seemed nothing was beyond their means. No more traipsing round bookshops, no more hounding booksellers to order items in, Amazon sent it straight to my door.
Ah, so you are extolling the virtues of internet shopping books, you say.
Well yes and no. When I saw this category, where do you buy your books, I thought it was a rather non-descript area. What do they expect people to write? I buy from Amazon, I buy from WH Smith, end of opinion. But then I looked at my own buying habits
and realised I had more to say.
The opportunity to purchase books on the internet is a Godsend for many people, especially those with limited time, with few 'real-life' resources close to hand, those looking for specialist titles. Buying books from the internet is an area of e-commerce that has worked as predicted thanks to the convenience to the buyer.
But, after my initial rush of buying I found I felt empty. What could possibly be wrong? I was getting the items I wanted, when I wanted, at the price I wanted? What was missing was the experience. Those days when you simply browse the book store and a title you had never considered all but jumps out at you and you find one of the best reads of recent times.
One of my favourite book shops of late is situated next door to a garden centre I often visit. It's one of those bargain bookshops which often look like a well organized car boot stall. I adore these places and suggest to everyone to go and have a browse. I love those books that come in special gift packs, the cook books with a selection of spices, the craft books with beads. I have found this bookstore is the best place to buy children's books often stocking a wide range of interactive books - pop-up books, books with movable dials. Never let retail snobbery get in your way of book buying. As well as these bargain book shops have a look in your local supermarkets, the larger ones often have excellent bargain book sections. My one great aim in life is that no-one should have a fear of books.
If you are passionate about books purchasing them goes beyond a mere monetary transaction. Personally, I find there is something relaxing about browsing books, each to their own I suspect. My hope is that bookstores can be something more than a mere retailer. I like the idea of bookstores as a community area that brings readers together, a place to feed the imagination. Whether the American style of the b
ookstore-cum-coffee bar will ever take off nationwide I don't know. Many bookstores run successful reading circles. I suppose what I hope for in a bookstore is to walk in and see myself all those years ago - a child sat in a corner scanning books with a glint of wonder I their eye.