Someone once told me that bookshops are sacred. And, I couldn’t agree more. The year was 2011, when the news of Borders’ closure shook the book industry. I was working in Page One then, a chain bookstore and publisher founded in Singapore. It shared the same fate as Borders; augmenting the bleak outlook of the book industry. Perhaps it was an act of defiance, perhaps it was an act of hope or optimism, but I got myself a job in another bookstore after Page One, an independent one on a much smaller scale. Alas, neither my defiance nor optimism yielded a better outcome.
Within a few years, bookstores were closing all over the world, like dominoes. It was like curse, a chain effect that couldn’t be broken.
People started the finger-pointing game; some blamed the ebook or the online bookstores, some claimed that humans were just not reading anymore, a fatalistic view which I was glad to soon discover that it wasn’t true.
In this age of the Internet, where distractions abound, people are probably reading less, but I believe it has definitely not come to a complete halt. There is, however, another thing that can never be broken too. And that is the affinity between book lovers. It is something that a fellow book lover could understand, the solace and the contentment we get from a good book.
Good literature sets us into contemplation, into introspection, and somehow it seems to enhance our individuality. It gives us an opportunity to reflect.
During my days in the bookstores, whenever I saw a customer returning the next day, I knew that they had discovered a good book which they couldn’t let go. They were hooked. Such was the joy I got from working in a bookstore; to know that some strangers out there cherished the same thing as I did, that we shared the same love.
My experience of working in the bookstore was short lived, but it was one of the best memories I ever had. Yes, bookstores are indeed sacred and I would still say yes to an opportunity of working in one again.
Find your closest independent bookstore here.
Don’t miss out on Independent Bookstore Day Saturday April 29th 2017.