Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

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Standing in a Bookstore

Today it hit me: I don't really enjoy bookstores anymore.

Which is odd, because at the time when I had this little moment, I was standing in a newly opened Borders, having my senses overloaded with books and itching to spend money. So, in actuality, I was having a good experience in a bookstore, but that just drove home how very often I don't have that experience anymore. I'm not saying that Borders was (or is) a great bookstore, for as S. said, it was kind of soulless, and it, just like every other bookstore in Sydney, had all these books that began at twenty bucks, but were mostly twenty five if you wanted a paperback. I didn't even bother looking at hardcovers. I long ago gave up buying hardcover books in Australia. I buy them from the States and while the shipping cost is high, order a handful, and I'm still coming out ahead in the money world, especially if they're independent press. Because, of course, you can't buy many hardcovers locally--they're mostly trade paperbacks, which are the same size as a hardcover, but big and ugly in their softness...

Wait, I'm getting lost here, aren't I?

It's a kind of a thing for authors to talk about how much they love bookstores, and the people working in them, which, y'know, is nice, but since authors want to be nice to the people who sell there books, of course they're going to say it. Even I like the bookstore operatives who get behind the books I'm in (or the books I've written, but that's something to say later). And like any author wanting to please, I'll do pretty much whatever is asked of me by a bookstore. Likewise, I don't actually want to see the non-chain bookstores go out of business, so while I stood in a Borders, just pretend I stood in a small business. With less books.

Which brings me to my point. It's rare when I go into a bookstore these days that I get that pleasure of seeing books that have some sort of New to them--and by this I mean something that appeals to my jaded, seen too many books appetite--or books I've just heard vaguely of, and so stumbling over them is a pleasure. Even in this big Borders I couldn't find an Octavia Butler book, you know? It just strikes me that there's a lot of repeating in bookstores--a lot of the same authors, same concepts, same publishers... a whole lot of the same old, same old, you know? And that's not really what I want anymore. By and large (and we're speaking in generalities) I'm familiar with the same old stuff, and they've either passed my Interested or Not Interested glance, and so I leave without buying and return to the playground of the internet.

In short, I miss the New.

I miss that feel when I could walk into a bookstore and feel as if there was so much uncharted, unmapped literature that anything I picked up would be all shiny. The Borders didn't really have it either. It was just a big bookstore that was a) local, and b) had a portion of books I would've had to buy online or get ordered if I wanted them. So my impulse purchasing instinct was getting some fresh life.

Anyhow, enough about my internal consumer. In other news, I'm behind on just about everything that I am meant to be doing. Writing, rewriting, everything. I sort of died in May and now I need to get my shit together.
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