I found this today written by another writer who I’ve never heard of but then I doubt very much he has heard of me. There is another similarity we share and that’s the love he has for physical books. However, I can only hope that one day I will be as good as he is to express that love.
“When I was a teenager and starting to love books, I was lucky enough to live near a town with a fantastic little indie bookshop. It was called the Bluebell Bookshop and my mum had taken me to it since I was a kid. The folk that owned it were a bit hippy and New Age, and highly suspect to a Cumbrian farmer’s son, but they had amazing taste in books. Someone in the shop used to curate a table with books they thought their readers might like. They had a very clever trick putting books that we probably thought we wanted alongside books they thought we might benefit from reading. It was a quietly radical act that got me reading all sorts of revolutionary books. That bookshop table had a profound impact on me, made me a much wider reader, and eventually helped me become a writer.
Books aren’t just ‘products’ or ‘commodities’ to be bundled onto shelves carelessly, or set out in front of our screen-eyes by algorithms. Books are the result of writers pouring their souls onto the pages, and when it works, and really clicks, those books can change people’s lives. So selling books is one of the most important jobs a human can do, because it is more than commerce. It’s matching people to stories they might need, encouraging people to hear new voices and different ideas, and, through that, playing a little role in changing the world. We still, thankfully, have a few fantastic indies in Cumbria, even though Bluebell Books is now a Costa Coffee, and those indies have helped me to get my books out there into thousands of reader’s hands. I will always be grateful for that. Books should be written, sold and read with love, and when they are there is a kind of magic that lightens up the world a little bit.” James Rebanks, 2021