Buying a book, independently….


Today, I feel the need for a copy of The Secret Henhouse Theatre.  I ring Ex Libris in Bradford on Avon.  They don’t have it, but they’ll have it tomorrow and, while I’m about it, they’ll have that copy of The Boy and the Bear in the Boat I asked about last week – because they’ve remembered that I asked.   I won’t pay postage, but the bookshop will pay tax, and while I’m standing at the counter, I can flick through a copy of Wendy Cope’s poems – which make me laugh, so I might as well buy them.  Oh and a new Spanish dictionary for my daughter.

I will have a chat with Jim or Carole who run the shop, read the notice board in the window, wonder if I want another gardening job or a three piece suite, or a pair of china vases, and opt instead for a coffee next door, flicking through my new books.   That night, in the bath, I will begin to read.

All this is imaginary, but here’s the alternative.

Today I feel the need for a copy of the Secret Henhouse Theatre.  I will order it online.  I will witter on twitter for an hour because I’ve switched the internet on.  I will actually speak to no-one.  My money will leave the country, and no tax will be paid.  And, because I don’t want to pay the extra postage, I will wait a week for the book to arrive, by which time, I’ve gone off the boil, and the book will lie by my bed unread for a week or two.


Today I feel the need for a copy of the Secret Henhouse Theatre.  I order it on my kindle. I do not read it in the bath for fear of dropping it, I read it in bed, sitting rigidly, and occasionally swooping through five pages, and unable to find my way back. I do not enjoy the reading experience as much and do not get as much out of the book as my friend did who bought it in Hay and has been raving about it.

I will wish I had bought it properly.  Valued the book, and spent time buying it.

For a publisher’s view on bricks and mortar bookshops, see today’s Nosy Crow blog.

And another writer’s view:  Same bookshop.


3 thoughts on “Buying a book, independently….

  1. Ali Hewett

    Wonderful post Fleur. There is nothing like the smell and feel of a real bookshop and being able to touch the books. You get a better feeling for them just handling them, seeing and feeling the size, the font the quality of the cover!

    1. Fleur Hitchcock Post author

      Yes – I think books need to be a sensory experience, not just for the eyes, but for the whole head. I notice that when I read books on my kindle, I never rate them as highly as when I read real books. I suspect, I’m missing something.

  2. Pingback: The Incorrigible Jon Klassen | tygertale

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