Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Click Isn't Always the Answer

Recently John Mesjak wrote an essay for The Huffington Post that caught my eye (via Shelf Awareness). John is an independent publishers rep who has also spent time working in three great independent bookstores, so he's clearly not without a dog in this "fight," but hey, neither am I! Here's a piece of what John had to say:

"Online book shopping shows up the flaws as well as the virtues of our increasingly digital, connected world: we have instant access to any book we might think of. If we already know of the book we're looking for, then finding it online is the work of seconds and buying a physical copy can be accomplished in a few more seconds, thanks to "One Click." If we wish to have an ebook, a minute more and it's on our device.

"But what if we don't already know what book we're looking for? A great read? Something that we once heard about on NPR, but have forgotten the title, author, air date? What if we're just looking for something new but need some guidance?"
"If all your book-buying is done online, you might find that your local physical bookstore is no longer there when you have one of those "I wonder what life will put in my path" sort of days. And that would be a shame."

Of course you can find just about any book you want online. And sometimes that might be the best thing. But unless you know exactly what you're looking for, you're facing the onerous (and not nearly as pleasing as browsing in a bookstore) task of clicking through page after page after page after page after page.... Assuming that your local neighborhood bookstore will magically always be there for you when you need it is a precarious assumption. You can read the full essay at The Huffington Post or at John's own blog, my3books.

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