Monday, May 17, 2010

Nothing Beats Book Stores

I have been an e-book fan for quite a while and have just upgraded from the Kindle to the iPad. 6% of the market is now in e-books and I expect Apple’s invention to perhaps double this.

Nonetheless, nothing beats a quiet Sunday afternoon in the traditional book store. Last week I was in London and whiled away a couple of hours at two of my favorites – Daunts and Hatchards. Daunts is the best travel bookshop on earth. It has two whole floors dedicated to stories, guides and myths broken down country by country. It has the most contemporary writings alongside the great classics. It also has an absolutely wonderful creatively curated children’s section where I was able to pick up a couple of personal favorites for Stella.

Daunts is in Marylebone, just a short walk from my all-time favorite on Piccadilly, Hatchards. Five floors of imaginative, beautifully selected, beautifully laid-out books. Including lots of signed versions which I am still a sucker for. Particularly interesting is a temporary promotion on the first floor, where store personnel have selected classic books from every decade and laid them out in the middle of the section. I spent a great half-hour browsing through the classics that molded a lot of my thinking in the ‘60’s, starting of course with Joseph Heller, Catch-22 – my favorite book of all time.

Books have always been my most favorite thing in the world, even ahead of music. And Hatchards and Daunts are classic Lovemark experiences, dripping with mystery, sensuality and intimacy.

The iPad does a great job in bringing to life these three things in the actual delivery of the book, but nothing compares to that sensation of physical discovery when you are actually in a book store that is run by people who love books (and the people who buy them).