This one is due an explanation because the word “bookstore” is becoming so archaic that by the time my kid learns how to read, it’ll probably change its meaning completely, like the word “gay”, or won’t exist anymore, like the word “galimatias”.
Bookstores are (or were, for those who get this message around 2050) public places where gay and bright people would go to buy books, especially when they felt strongly galimatias-ious in their heads about world phenomena.
The new millennials (those who’ll be capable of reading this post in 2050) may know this place as the one where they can buy coffee, but also – toiletries, confectionary, souvenirs, and even takeout food. When I think of stores this way, I wonder why Borders shut its borders? They sold everything that you can find in Target, Boots, and … the airport.
I went to a bookstore in Malta recently to look for a magazine. Apparently, the bookstore didn’t sell magazines anymore. The magazines, like fat old spinsters got kicked out by the miniature metal knights who think tourists are so hot for them, map printed spoons, map printed napkins, map printed beer mugs, map printed magnets, map printed table cloths, Maltese buss pencil sharpeners, and the First Regiment of the map printed ashtrays. I thought, ok, in a bookstore you get books. If you were in a ‘magazinestore’ you’d get magazines. But if you have two stalls of colourful ashtrays in a bookstore, what do you call that? A stray?
I went to the bookshelves to browse the titles. There were hordes of cook books and travel books. If I had to replace the word “book” with the word “drink”, I’d say this bookstore offered hell of a messy cocktail. And to ensure the hangover? A Jackie Collins overdose. The titles were just too strong to take even in small sips: The Love Killers, Hollywood Wives, The World is Full of Married Men…
I felt a craving for Barnes & Noble and was ready to relapse even on Borders.
I dreaded the thought that bookstores may disappear, albeit with all its other junk and the First Regiment of the ashtrays. It was yet another reason for people to go out, socialise, pick up a couple of classics, just like you’d want to go “where everybody knows your name” and cheer yourself with a couple of rounds.
What would my kids have by the time they want to buy their own books? Bigger Amazon? It’s not the point. Analogically, you can also get plastered with alcohol at home. But you still prefer to go to the bar and meet a few friends. Let’s hope sacred places like Foyles and Blackwell exist for hundreds of years more.