Today is World Book Day, a day set aside to promote literacy. I have always loved books and the repositories of books – book-stores both new and second-hand, libraries, jumble sales, charity shops-all places I can never pass by without checking out what books are on the shelves. One of my most favourite things to do when I visit the US, is to find the nearest book-store and settle in for the evening with a cup of coffee and an armful of books, taking my time choosing what I will buy. It’s the same with airport bookshops – I never mind a delay at an airport, so long as there is a bookstore to browse. And libraries – I love libraries. In fact in a former life, I worked as a trainee librarian. Libraries are wonderful places, with a distinctive smell all their own, which I love.
While I buy a lot of my books on Amazon these days, there is still nothing to replace the thrill of wandering into a bookstore and surveying row upon row of inviting books. I was really upset at the news last week that Hughes and Hughes are to close, and although rising rents are cited as the cause of their closure, I suspect the fact that we are buying books cheaper online must play a part too. I really don’t like the thought that some day in the not so distant future, we may be looking at the closure of book stores, even though I am one of those who choose to buy online!