In this digital age, you could be forgiven for wondering if the local bookshop has had its day.

Even those who prefer the tactile experience of holding a book can order one to be delivered right to their door, with a few simple keystrokes.

And if you like to browse through real books, sitting on real shelves, why would you head to a bookstore, when your department store chain has many of the best sellers, sometimes at half the price?

Bookshops are magical. Afterall, where else can you have dinosaurs and dogs living in harmony with fairies and princesses? Click To Tweet

Bookshops are magical

There’s something quite different about walking into a store solely dedicated to books.

Where else can you have dinosaurs and dogs living in harmony with fairies and princesses? Where else would you find sinners and saints side-by-side? And what other place allows you to enter one door, which can then lead you to a million different other worlds?

When you walk into a bookstore, you get to choose which adventure you’re going to have, and who’s going on it with you. A scandalous romance? Or a fast-moving thriller? A tale of heartbreak? Or an inspiring journey?

While department stores might sell books, there’s just no competing with the atmosphere of a shop dedicated solely to a reader’s pleasure. Or the casual browse which leads to you discovering a real treasure you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

You’ll get better service

If you’ve ever seen the film You’ve Got Mail, you’ll remember Meg Ryan’s character, Kathleen Kelly, who owned and ran the independent bookshop, ‘The Shop Around the Corner’. The shop appealed to young and old. Kathleen’s passion for children’s fiction and her long association with it, made her the expert when it came to advising parents and children, on what to read. It was a sad day, when the competitor, ‘Fox Books’, eventually drove the independent store under.

Here’s a scene from the movie, showing you just what kind of expertise you can expect from someone who knows and loves books.

While larger chains may be able to provide you with cheap books, they really can’t compete when it comes to personalised service, and an in-depth knowledge of books.

They provide respite

In the early days of motherhood, when most things bamboozled me, and I felt like a terrible failure, I would take solace in the bookshop. My son would sit or lie in his pram and soak up the atmosphere. We both became calmer versions of ourselves in a place where there were other worlds to discover, new people to meet, new adventures to be had.

By the time we’d bought a book (or a few books), and had a coffee, the world would be a happy place again, and we’d both be happier, and the world had righted itself again.

They make books (and reading) exciting for children

I read a news story this week that reported around 40 per cent own 10 books or fewer, with the average child owning only 18 books. To me, that’s terribly sad.

When my kids were young, we went to the bookshop every couple of weeks. We would spend ages walking around, looking at the pictures, reading stories, and making our choices. Both my kids would come home with several books which they proudly added to their collections. And better yet, they were excited about reading.

Bookshops make reading exciting for children. And that's got to be a good thing. Click To Tweet

When we re-vamped my son’s room a few years ago, we needed two large boxes to store all his childhood books.

I can’t help but wonder how many of those kids who own a handful of books between them were ever taken to a bookshop when they were younger. And then I wonder how many of them will ever truly know the tremendous pleasure you can gain from reading.

Pleasure for life

Over the weekend, I took both my kids (one teenager, and one pre-teen) to our local bookshop in celebration of National Bookshop Day. We walked around for a while, looking at all kinds of books. And out of the corner of my eye, I spied them both — back in the children’s section, looking for all the books they remembered from their childhood.

The great thing about bookstores, is that you don’t have to spend money to feel good (although who doesn’t like a new book?). Sometimes just soaking up the atmosphere, touching the books, and marvelling at the creativity stored between the pages, is enough to make your spirit soar.

So here’s to all the bookstores. May we visit them, may we support them, and may we celebrate them, in all their magical glory.


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