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January 5, 2012

i am so angry.


photo credit to BlogTO


the other day i read THIS ARTICLE, which, if you’re too lazy to click on the link, is about The Book Mark. the book mark is apparently toronto’s oldest independent bookstore, but i know it as my local. it’s in etobicoke, which is where my family lives, and so i’ve been there many times. it’s lovely. it’s a lovely bookstore as bookstores are. it smells like pages. and it’s being fucking forced to close.

this is why i get so irked when people tease me for buying books instead of renting them at the library. (which is also due to my ptsd re: bedbugs, but that’s a whole other story) and people teased me for spending so much money to send my books home from vancouver when i moved back to toronto. they said why don’t you just give them away? hell no. i shed a lot of stuff in that move, but if i’m a collector, i’m collecting books. and this is why. they are on the road to becoming obsolete.

i know people might get all ridiculous at that statement – books will never become obsolete! so i guess that is a sweeping statement, and i should know better. but notice that i haven’t put a time cap on that statement, because i really do believe that somewhere down the line, be a hundred years from now who knows, books are going down the poopchute. already i’ve noticed a difference being back on the ttc – people hold e-readers in their laps instead of books. it’s a little disquieting, and i can’t complain thoroughly because i did just buy my first e-book the other day, but in my defence, it was a rare, rare book from the 1990s that probably ISN’T available in print format right now because of the dawn of e-readers, because now that it’s on e-readers it’s not needed in print and so the remaining copies have been driven up in the price range. it’s an ouroboros, really. and it’s so frustrating.

the book mark is a beautiful bookstore. how is it fair that it’s closing? there have been so many closures lately, and it’s maybe because people don’t want to spend 30 dollars on a hardback book when they can spend 15 on kobo, and i get that, the economy is kind of crap, but fine, don’t disrespect my choice to be a book collector. and how can the kobo or the kindle ever compare to that satisfying crack that you get when you open up a new book for the first time and the spine gives way? the spine becomes your tarot deck, your highlighted topography because it wears itself to you, falls open wherever you have loved the most, become most familiar with the words. how can the kobo or the kindle compare to the smell of paste and paper, that smell you get when you press your nose into the pages? it doesn’t, it can’t. we are a generation glued to our screens – and i am just as guilty of that, as i am writing a BLOG right now, instead of writing this as an article and trying to submit it to our newspapers… oh, wait. so much of the newspaper content is online, now, instead of in print… god, i just don’t know where readership is going, where the literature trends are going. for the meantime, maybe we’re safe, but as bookstores close down – old, established bookstores with knowledgeable, kind staff instead of websites – things get a little scary. and yes, i realise that there are scarier things in the world right now, and i’m being a bit glib i suppose, but if you can’t stand up for something you love, be it small, be it seemingly insignificant, then what can you stand up for?

so don’t tease me for buying books, and for starting to fill my shelves. these things are going to come with me wherever i go, because i love them. because books filled my childhood, not IPADS, and because they were always a refuge, always comforting. and if you need to borrow one or two from me in the future, then so be it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 5, 2012 8:26 am

    I agree with everything you have said

  2. January 5, 2012 6:28 pm

    You are not alone.

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