Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Metro editor Simon Wilson agonises over buying an e-reader

“I’ve been struggling with the idea that I’m going to stop buying books and get myself an e-reader instead. I know, what took me so long? E-books will make my life easier, give me more and better reading options, especially when I’m on holiday or nowhere near a good bookshop. They will also save me money. Reading is one of the things I like to do most in the world, and online publishing will make it better.
The thing is, I feel terrible about it. Not because I like to hold real books in my hands, which I do, a lot, but I suspect I would get over that. It’s because I like buying books. I like going into a good shop like Unity Books on High St and browsing, doing the two-page reading test, making choices. I like working through that central display table of new fiction, and I like browsing the whole shop.
Yes, thank you, I am aware I can do all this at Amazon. But I also like having a bit of a chat to whoever serves me: I know the names of one or two, but I don’t know them: essentially, it’s a communion of two strangers united by the mutually acknowledged pleasure we take in books.
Most of all, I like the experience of being among books. Standing with an array of covers: the beautiful look of them. The smell of them. The little notes the staff put on them, their thoughtful enthusiasms. The moment, each moment, when you reach out and lift a book from the pile... I love the invitation to serendipity — the unplanned delight — that a good bookshop represents.
That’s what I pay for. At this moment, I have full concession cards for two bookshops in my wallet and the only reason I haven’t used them is that I’ve been enjoying the thrill of delayed gratification. I mean it.” 
Simon Wilson (left)

I was greatly taken by Simon's editorial (above) in the November issue of Metro just out this week., He sums up very well what many of us are thinking. The above is only about a third of his editorial so buy a copy and treat yourself not only to his full essay but also to an outstanding issue that features some marvellous book reviews, a great story on the future of Auckland's High Street, Auckland's top 50 Cafes and a free app to go with that feature and a helluva lot more too.

1 comment:

Doris Mousdale said...

Liked the piece by Simon Wilson, at least he gets what the bookshop is about.
The Bookshop-it's a social connection, it's the modern day version of Samuel Johnson's Coffee House it's where like minded people go to discuss anything and everything concerning books, authors, current affairs and lurid gossip.
There is the eye sweep over the shelves of familiar tales,the finger brushing of the new titles on the tables, the double take of eyecatching titles in the window and then there is the moment when you connect with what the author is saying as you open those first pages of the book you have chosen as your treat.

I watch people with readers on planes anxious to switch on their machines and I smile as they try to hold the screen at an angle so that they can read, the adjustments they make,is it better with glasses on or glasses off the obvious discomfort of holding an alien object while his wife on the next seat is sucking on her pencil engrossed in her Suduko book. Other travellers fingers whizz across the screen far faster than the fastest reader can digest the good word. They are not even scanning the documents let alone reading and taking in the information-this was particularly interesting as the documents had that little Beehive logo thingy at the top of each page and hers was an important large size screen for ease of reading but what was really going into her head?
The e reader is a gadget you can read on the book is like the wheel or spoon a great invention that does what it says on the label -Takes you wherever you want to go, teaches you whatever you want to learn and entertains you for as long as you want .
Just like childrens toys at Christmas that seem to do everything but actually don't let you play with them the e reader lets you see the words but it doesn't transport you, its the 1984 of information/entertainment.
This little rant hasn't touched on the exchange of books, the collecting of books,the way books do furnish a room...................
but then I don't see many interesting rooms with a little grey object propped up on a shelf.

Doris Mousdale
Arcadia Bookshop
26 Osborne Street