Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot
I have always loved visiting bookstores and book fairs. I still remember Sunday morning trips in Papa’s car (mainly to keep our Premier Padmini car alive) to the only bookstore to keep books other than study books in our town – NuLite. And I simply loved the book fairs of Russian books that used to come to town every year. But after I reached Class 5, these Russian book fairs stopped coming. Now in Bangalore, when I go to a mall, I tend to enter bookstores like Crossword, Landmark, Reliance Timeout and browse through all the sections. I like the smell and feel of new books so much! I see so many book lovers sitting cozily on the poufs and sofas reading books at leisure. Do they actually end up buying the book or any book? Or do they just come, sit, read and go? Then it is great for bookstores to indulge such book lovers. And necessarily so given the terrible lack of libraries in the city.
But the question is do I buy any book from bookstore ? I do get motivated to pick up this book and that book but I stop. I stop and using internet I look up the price on online retailers like Flipkart. For example I really wanted to buy “Hercule Poirot The Complete Short Stories” by Agatha Christie which was priced at Rs 599. At that time Flipkart was having a great sale on books and anyway there is always some discount on most of the books. So that book was available for Rs 300 on Flipkart. Now why on earth would I buy any book from any real bookstore?
I am very sure since these websites came in the market, bookstores are bearing heavy losses. Of course the ability to hold a new book, flip through it and just to browse in a physical bookstore is essential for all book lovers. Also one comes to know of different types of books, new releases etc by visiting a bookstore more than a website. Sometimes you enter to pick one particular book but ending up buying three more that you don’t need. But in the end money is a big factor! And it’s not some Rs 20- 50 difference..it is a huge difference. I guess eventually online retailers will drive bookstores to bankruptcy and closure. Will the people benefit or lose in the process is the question.
“There is nothing like the smell of a bookstore. If you ask me, it’s actually a combination of smells: part library, part new book, and part expectation for what you might find.” ― Kathryn Fitzmaurice
Phew!! Just made it today!