It’s like he’s picking up parts of the world and showing them to me, saying, See? It’s beautiful.
The relevant equation is: Knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass; a good bookshop is just a Black Hole that knows how to read.
Choosing to buy a particular book over others only or mainly because it is the cheapest is excusable only if you are learning to read.
Some people see a bookshop as an archive, or a shrine, or even a time machine. But I think a bookshop is like a map of the world. There are infinite paths you can take through it and none of them are right or wrong. Here in a bookshop we give readers landmarks to help them find their way, but every reader has to learn to set their own compass.
CUSTOMER: Is your poetry section split up into rhyming and non-rhyming sections? BOOKSELLER: No, it’s just in alphabetical order. What kind of poetry are you looking for? CUSTOMER: Rhyming. Preferably iambic pentameter, in poems of no more than ten lines, by a female poet. But, other than that, I don’t mind.
Customer: This book has a couple of tears to some of the pages. Me: Yes, unfortunately some of the older books haven’t had as much love as they should have done from previous owners. Customer: So, will you lower the price? It says here it’s £20. Me: I’m sorry but we take into account the condition of the books when we price them; if that book was in a better condition, it would be worth a lot more than £20. Customer: Well, you can’t have taken this tear here into account *points to page* or this one here *points to another page* because my son did those two minutes ago. Me: So, the book is now more damaged than it was before, because of your son? Customer: Yes. Exactly. So will you lower the price?
Customer: Forgotten my glasses, could you read the beginning of this book to me to see if I like it?
You are more likely to find three TVs inside a randomly selected house than you are to find a single book that is or was not read to pass an exam, to please God, or to be a better cook.