Thursday, 5 June 2008

Cover story

If you'd like to know my views on buying books in Italy, as well as on the cultural relativism of book covers, all you have to do is click here. You will also find a shameless plug for Little Monsters, which is what it's all about. My thanks to the Guardian blog (and to Sandra, who placed the piece). Finally, you'll get the chance to see a very lovely photo of the skyline of San Gimignano. Good god, what more do you want?


Chancelucky said...

I really liked this. I don't get out much, so I tended to assume that bookstores all over did business in essentially the same way. The only bookstore that seemed a bit different was the one in 84 Charing Cross Road.

The decline or disappearance of the book as a physical product is quite sad. I miss just admiring the cover and the binding, the heft of the pages themselves, but that really more or less died when paperback sales began to overwhelm hardcover, though I've seen some gorgeous paperbacks as well.

I wish I'd had the experience of buying books from a bookstore in Italy in the 70's-80's. I remember in French class when I was in high school getting a French edition of Candide and having to take scissors to cut through the pages. It would have been fun to experience a book as this item that was too delicate to be "touched" by everyday shoppers and to see it wrapped carefully in paper.

Charles Lambert said...

It's interesting you should talk about having to cut the pages of French books, because one of the things I most like about US hardbacks, and even some paperbacks, is the untrimmed edge the pages often have. It gives them a more serious feel, somehow.

I'm fairly optimistic about the survival of the book as object. I feel the odds are good that it'll last as long as we do and outlive the whole e-book business as everything that requires power collapses around us. Hmm. Maybe optimism isn't the word I'm looking for...