Today is National Bookshop Day, the perfect excuse to buy books and drink champagne! My favourite independent bookshop in Adelaide, the lovely Imprints, celebrated with books and bubbles. (We also had a decadent lemon syrup cake and lots of conversation.)
I wouldn’t be without my local indie bookshop. I know that I can buy books online (and I do), but for me nothing beats the experience of the real thing : browsing the shelves, finding the book I want, coming across other books that I discover I also want, talking to the lovely guy behind the counter (he has a tattoo sleeve, the smile of an angel and he reads Foucault and Julian Barnes.)
The one thing that stops me ordering and buying all of my books here can be expressed in three dirty words: parallel import restrictions. Australians are cursed with this system that effectively doubles the price of our books: compare the price in British pounds with the cost in Australian dollars next time you pick up a new book. Our professional library association, ALIA, has argued for the repeal of PIR since the 1980s – it is kept in place on the unconvincing grounds that Australian writing needs to be protected from more popular overseas imports. (That’s insulting to Australian readers, writers, library users and book buyers: we have a healthy literary culture that can look after itself.)
I will buy books wherever and whenever I can. In Imprints (where they have a wonderful selection), at book fairs (on impulse), at the Hill of Content (when I’m in Melbourne), online from Book Depository (at half the Australian price with no charge for postage.)
Let’s all buy books and drink champagne!