Happy Jubilee weekend from a very jubilant Britain! We’re on the last day of our four-day weekend, so it seems fitting to focus today’s post on happenings here in the Land of Hope and Glory.
A recent article in the Daily Mail proclaimed that a bookshop owner in Hay-on-Wye — a town legendary for its dozens of independent bookshops — is seeking to ban the Kindle from one of the world’s leading literary festivals in town this weekend.
Mr Addyman, 57, said: ‘Kindles have no place at this festival which is supposed to be a celebration of the written word – and books.
‘Booksellers here definitely want them banned. You see people walking around with Kindles and they are like robots in another world.
‘Books are sociable and people stop and talk to each other about them. Kindles are just a phase and they won’t last. They are our enemy.’
While Hay is a place known for its eccentric characters and Addyman’s views may be a little extreme, it flags up an attitude that still prevails: e-readers are destroying traditional books and, by default, bookshops.
While I feel for the plight of independent bookshop owners, vilifying technology certainly isn’t the way forward — nor is it an effective method of ensuring survival. In fact, it makes those protesting seem even more out of touch and dated. Instead of sticking your head in the sand, why not try to develop ideas to help compete with what’s happening?
I realise I’m preaching to the converted here, but I’ve bought more books since owning a Kindle –thereby supporting more authors and publishers — than ever before. I rarely bought a book before Kindle; I just headed to the library. Not to mention the advent of ebooks has allowed me to make a living.
New technologies always bring change, some of it unwelcome. I love bookshops and I hope they find a way to make it work for them. But until they accept e-books are here to stay, I fear the way of the dinosaur beckons…
What’s the situation in your neck of the woods? Are bookshops closing? Do you still buy print books?