The bookselling biz  NOV 30 2005

On the plane on the way back from Vietnam, I was reading this article about how bookstores are preferable to shopping for books online[1] when I ran across this quote from David Sedaris:

One thing about English-language bookstores in the age of Amazon is that it assumes that everybody has the Internet. I don't. I've never seen the Internet. I've never ordered a book on it, and I wouldn't really want to"

This seems almost impossible and might even be a joke, but it would go a long way in explaining how he gets so much work done. He's got continuous complete attention while the rest of us have only partial.

[1] Which article was not very convincing since it included this passage:

[Odile Hellier, owner of the Village Voice bookstore in Paris] said that she thinks the act of buying books in a store rather than online is essential to the health of our culture.

"My fear is that while the machine society that we live in is very functional, very practical, and allows for a certain communication, it is a linear communication that closes the mind," she said.

She said that although Internet sites perform many of the functions of a bookstore - recommending similar books or passing on personal impressions of a book - nothing equals the kind of discovery possible when visiting a store and scanning tables covered with a professional staff's latest hand-picked selection.

I always chuckle when someone (usually grinding an axe) describes the web as so flat and with little social aspect. I love bookstores, but in many ways, shopping for books online is superior.

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