Welcome to my new blog!

I already run a successful blog: www.leavingcairo.blogspot.com - a blog about an English girl the wrong side of 35 who finds herself settling (for the moment) in the beautiful country of Greece.
But there's more to Bex, the author - hence "The this 'n' that blog".
Documented here will be every day ramblings and observations - enjoy!



Saturday, 31 December 2011

Kindle - the end of those lovely bookshops?

File:Page Kindle.jpg
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Page_Kindle.jpg
I had quite a good Christmas.  Apart from returning to my native UK from Greece (and feeling decidedly less native every visit) and looking forward to returning 'home' to the sunnier weather - I did quite well in the present department.
Apart from the ubiquitous bath smellies from siblings (oh, another thing in the UK's favour is LUSH's Bath Bombs - wow!), I bought myself a Kindle with some nice money I had.
Delivered 24 hrs later (OK - that's another point for the UK in my internal Greece vs UK bashing I have going on), I excitedly charged it up (and became positively gleeful when I found the USB lead it came with fits in nicely with my Apple iPhone charger!  No need to spend any extra!) and downloaded my first book -   "Confessions of a GP" OK, so it was a Kindle "Special" and I didn't want to spend a fortune initially.  But it's actually very good.


I noted with disappointment at myself: I was rushing to finish my current paperback, the excellent "Super Sad True Love Story". In my rush to play with my new technological 'toy,' I was missing out on the essence of the plot - and the whole enjoyment of curling up in bed with the cat and a cup of tea to read a good book (Jeez I'm getting old!)  Well, let's face it, it doesn't quite sound the same to say

"I'm just going to curl up in bed with some hot chocolate and a good Kindle."

And the other thing that worries me: the eventual demise of those great sanctums of escapism from the God awful Saturday shopping crowds, the beloved bookshop:
Athens is full of bookshops tucked away down old ancient side streets.  One of the bigger chains,
Eleftheroudakis has a beautiful choice, both Greek and International with lovely sofas to lounge upon.
Compendium is another one of those old ones that one can stumble across - a haven from expats with its vast range - and the owner is very helpful.
Compendium Books - Athens, Greece

Solonos Street has the best book shops/cafes in Athens - near the area of Exarchia.

I know I know - we can't halt technological advancement (and neither SHOULD we), but I can't help feeling sad that these lovely sanctums might eventually disappear.

Any thoughts?


DEK said...

I think used book stores -- having a 500-year backlog of stock -- will be with us for the foreseeable future. And these, I think, trafficking in the worn and familiar, have more reliably the atmosphere that you so fondly describe and which any person of culture and sensitivity ought desire. I realize, of course, that the same argument could have been made for hunting with bow and arrow or heating our home with wood fire in the fireplace, and if I had any sort of talent at foreseeing the future I would undoubtedly be richer than I am. So patronize bookstores and decorate your walls with bookcases and leave books on park benches and bus seats for strangers to find and maybe read.

Bookstores may become harder to find, but we have the web to help us find them.

I remember one little bookstore in Athens. It was a large room crammed with old books with scarcely room to move around. Its entrance was a few steps below street level. I bought a monograph in Greek on the medieval coins of Crete. That was perhaps thirty years ago.

Bex said...

I hear you - that's why I go to pains to highlight I am not against advancement...but I would miss the once monthly get together with friends for book swapping sessions. Somehow "Kindle swapping" doesn't have the same ring to it.

Bex said...

Update: well, I shouldn't complain about Kindle's too much - I've just found a way to try to advertise my main blog on it!
Keep an eye out for www.leavingcairo.blogspot.com on Kindle.

Russ said...

All the Borders Bookstores in the USA closed a few months ago. There used to be one a mile from our home. I bought quite a few books there, and used to enjoy browsing to see what was new. Miss stopping in when I had a little time. Perhaps there is room for both media--print and electronic.

Demetra said...

I am obsessed both with my books and with my Kindle. I have always been an avid reader but when I got the Kindle I started to read probably twice as much as before. My kids also read so much more now with the Kindle. Esp in the summer...! With 8 ounces I was able take heaps of books with me for the month I was out of my house. At the same time, our house is filled--and always will be--with real books and we are buying AND SWAPPING :) real books whenever possible. I don't know how I'd feel if I still lived in the states with bookstores and book swapping possibilities abounding...maybe the Kindle wouldn't have captured my attention as it has. But here, now, after ten years of always feeling that it was just a bit too much of an event to get a book, it was literally the answer for my book-hungry soul... I must say that I hated the original Kindle--looked like a computer screen. But now with the new technology of e-ink, where the screen actually looks like a page of a book, I feel comfortable. Also, being able to read in the bright sunlight was a huge plus for this non-beach type. And as we walk to and from the beach, I loved having a super light bag filled with reading material for whomever wanted to read. One other note: Since you can email documents to your Kindle, this summer I was able to put recipes that I have on my computer onto the Kindle, plus a cookbook or two (freebies from the Kindle store) and I didn't have to bring one cookbook with me when I left for a month. Experimented with tons of recipes I wouldn't have touched otherwise over the summer, plus easily shared the recipes with friends and relatives at whose homes I cooked and spent time. And finally, with the current season in mind, just to let you know that for us, a Kindle-owning and Kindle-loving family, one of the star events of the Christmas holiday is to venture into the center of Athens specifically to go to the BOOKSTORES. Just bought the hard copy of Le Petit Nicholas for my youngest today... Sure it will stay in her permanent colleciton; the sequels will be the real books as well. :)

Bex said...

I'm really glad that I seem to have sparked off some kind of debate here - and it's good to get so much feedback. Thank you all.
Demetra: it's good you found a good use for our little 'gadgity' friend and yes, I agree: when the "Athens Exodus" happens in Jul/Aug, it's good to take a small, slim and light object with you and not 4 or 5 cumbersome books.
I also think I will stick to both: I love the bookshops/coffee shop lifestyle and will certainly still be frequenting these on a regular basis. Might see you there one day Demetra!

Sage said...

I finally got an ereader this year... I do like books, but I can see the advantage of having so many books at your fingertips. Yes, I will miss bookstores and hope they don't completely go out of business, but even some my friends who write for a living are exploring publishing ebooks.

Bex said...

I managed, in the space of about two weeks to finish 3 books. It's strange as because my Kindle is a little of a gimmick at the moment, it makes me read faster and want more.
Anyway, at the moment I am back to a book and taking my time, devouring it slowly.
Yes, I think publishing will be revolutionalised by Kindle. I do hope we're all right though and that there'll be room for both - I do love bookstores...they're an institution.

DEK said...

For what it's worth, my wife, who reads constantly, including several hours each day on line, received a Kindle for Christmas and has read one or maybe two books on it, but has now lain it aside and continues to get her steady stream of books from our local library. Habit, I suppose, of the older reader.

I have never been tempted to pick the thing up.

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