There’s absolutely nowhere else on the planet that my heart swings and sings so much than a bookshop. However, since 2007, my first Kindle e-reader, I leave bookshops mostly empty handed.
There’s something to be said about volumes of novels laid out in front of you, taking up space and represented in colour. I never know quite where to start when I get in the shop, but find myself gravitating to the book charts. This gives me an idea of what others are reading (and buying). It’s an opportunity to see if I fit into community and it’s popular culture.
I then look at new releases, this section is increasingly familiar as I am fortunate to read a handful of books pre-release and I secretly hope the ones I have loved do well. Next I browse the crime thriller and horror sections, I always fervently hope I will find hidden gems here.
The literary fiction section has me writing down the most titles I need to read. At this point a fierce debate rages in my head between knowing I could get the book cheaper online or free from my local library and buying the well packaged end products of some very serious marketing.
Before I leave the shop I find myself scanning the miscellaneous products for the ever increasingly rare item, the bookmark. The bookmark seems to have disappeared from the shelves of bookshops and when I do make the effort to ask a sales assistant if they have any, I’m met by the negative and embarrassed quizzical expression, as if the concept of marking where you are in a book is a foreign, if not, taboo practice altogether.