There was a time when finding a book meant something special. Look at rows and rows or rather piles of books on the pavement on Mount Road, Triplicane, or shops at Moore Market. Haggling with the book-seller, good-natured ribbing and persuasion and getting a deal. Look at the cover, reading the blurb, wondering how different the book would be… All very nostalgic.
Now everything has to be a big-launch, promo after promo, trailers for books – my God, where have we come to… Goodreads, FB, Twitter, stars, reviews, ratings, it is no longer a book for the love of reading and writing. Even the beautiful book has become a blasted product to be glossed, lots of make-up applied, lies pandered, images created, marketing push, review push, page-like push, events, parties, interviews… an endless loop. I gratify your ego, you gratify mine… The self-publishing revolution has unearthed some gems, but has set forth an entire chain of authors who will stop at nothing short of stardom.
OK–Why did I digress? Damn this random sequencing syndrome will kill me. The seed of the post was how book-buying habits have changed. The stores seem to be dying everywhere, except Bengaluru. Online book sales, discounts, stars and review-ratings dictate terms. The joy of finding a new author (hitherto unread is lost). We have blog reviews, newspaper reviews, magazine reviews and celebrity endorsements and how could I forget — Book Club recommendations to go by!!!
OK let me look up for the best deal between Flipkart and Amazon and buy a book…We need patronage for shops like Giggles in Chennai. Blossom and Bookworm in Bengaluru where we can still find gems. My dear book-seller Anna on Mount Road has been away on a long break – Metro Rail, police harassment, traffic, have all taken their toll. At Anna Nagar, used book shops have gone replaced by some store. Moore Market stands a testimony to a time gone by. The engineering, computing and medical books sell like hot cakes. Dig deeper into the complex, there are some thathas still selling old Enid Blytons, dig deeper you may find an old edition of Playboy somewhere, the Readers Digest condensed classics, Perry Masons, Frederick Forsyths and other popular writers all find a place in the dog-eared books.
Time to go visit Moore Market, so who is joining me!!