Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Letter to the Editor, The Times listens!

Yesterday, The Times newspaper printed an article claiming that Internet Booksellers were killing the art of browsing shelves. Well, I couldn't let that go unanswered! Not least because the person most quoted was Margaret Atwood... now I'm sure she's a lovely person, but I've always found her stuff completely unsellable, I'm afraid -- she's just the sort of mass-produced paperback author that's filling the modern chain bookshop shelves (not to mention the dreaded supermarket), and flooding the secondhand market to the detriment of serious second-hand sellers. Sorry Margaret! Anyway, The Times decided to print my letter (most gratifying) so I got to have my say. Resaid here:

Sir, The solution to the problem of the “death of browsing” in bookshops is the same for today’s internet buyers as it always was for the high street shopper (report, April 23 ).

Eschew the glossy megastores, packed with shelves of identical bestsellers, and head for the secondhand backwaters. The evocative scent of musty pages might be missing, but browsing through “shelves” of books by genre, style or author is still very much alive. A good seller will still be happy to chat about particular writers, will provide photographs of the item for sale, make recommendations and seek out special titles for their customers, all of which will take place without the buyer being rained on, incurring parking fees, or even having to change out of one’s dressing gown.

That link should work to take you to the original article that got my dander up.

Incidentally, they edited out the final line, where I admitted that sometimes the seller was in his or her dressing gown too. Too racy for The Times, eh? ;)

Happy reading!

1 comment:

Madelaine said...

A letter in the Times? Now that's an achievement!