In spite of the difficulties facing the publishing industry, there are still a lot of bookshops in London which are managing to survive. Here are five I deem to be among the Most Awesome.
The flagship store on Charing Cross Road is a haven for book-lovers everywhere. It is vast yet not at all intimidating. Its specialisms include the Grant & Cutler foreign language department and the sheet music section on the top floor. Ray’s Jazz Cafe is also very cool. Continue reading
Here’s one way of preventing Amazon’s hegemony over book sales: in France, book prices are fixed by law so they cost the same amount whether you buy them online, in a chain shop like Fnac or in a small independent bookshop. When I was living in Paris during my year abroad, the stingy student side of me was a bit miffed that it was impossible to get new books at a discount. On the other hand, it means that there are still a lot of independent bookshops which are managing to stay open (about 400 in Paris) and that can only be a good thing. Continue reading
The eBook debate continues to rage incessantly and provoke some very important questions. Is the controversy less about the value of books and more about the development of modern technology? Who are the winners and the losers in this supposed eBook revolution? Does it really matter what format books are available in? For many people, it certainly does.
Although I don’t actually own an e-reader yet, I do plan to get a Kindle soon (hopefully for Christmas this year) after borrowing my sister’s one earlier this summer. I will be using it almost exclusively for when I’m commuting by train as it is the practical side of e-readers which appeals to me the most.
Source: The Guardian
My Political Bookshelf
The Politics section in most bookshops is often an odd one. I think there are two explanations for this. Firstly, it is because books about current affairs usually go out of date very quickly – politics changes pretty much everyday and a lot of books about ongoing events can end up in a bargain bin faster than you can say ‘Yes, we can’. Secondly, I think it is because politics tends to overlap with so many other subjects like history, sociology, economics and biographies. In your average Waterstone’s shop, the Politics section will typically consist of a slew of memoirs and biographies of New Labour era politicians, a couple of AS Level Government and Politics textbooks, some books which claim to explain the origins of the credit crunch/globalisation/some other trendy political buzzword in layman’s terms and maybe a few George W. Bush-bashing books. Overall, it isn’t particularly inspiring and doesn’t really reflect the diversity of the subject especially when there is so much quality political journalism out there. It also demonstrates how books have become sidelined, as far as politics is concerned, in favour of more modern media which can be updated instantly. A 140 character tweet is likely to reach and influence millions more people than an exhaustively researched tome about the state of the nation today. Overall, the cycle of the publishing industry is incompatible with the fickle 24 hour news cycle that we have today.