The Demise of the Printed Book has been Greatly Exaggerated

I love books. I love to hold them, smell them. If I could I would taste them. (sometimes when pondering a book it is even held close to my mouth.) Is there any more heavenly smell than a room full of books? (except maybe fresh brewed coffee on a cold winter morning). One of my greatest memories is walking morning after morning into the Bodleian Library in Oxford while doing my PhD, smelling the amazing books.

So with that full disclosure of my bibliomania, you can understand my at times violent disagreement with people who say that printed books are a thing of the past. Yes, I know that e-readers are more numerous now, but what a comforting thing to still see plenty of people in airports and other places still reading a physical book! (and not just oldie-goldies either).

This last week my chortle of glee was complete as we visited the first physical bookstore in the world started by Amazon! Yes, you read that right! The giant company started 20 years ago and based in Seattle, Washington that in many ways helped fuel the online book revolution, has decided to start an actual bookstore. With actual books. With 5,500 square feet and books displayed facing out rather than only spines showing, it is a great testament to the future of the printed book. It is a gamble by Amazon, but based in University Village near the University of Washington in Seattle, this store at least should not lack for patrons.

The store could be larger and there could be more books (though the selection was not bad considering the space restrictions). But there was joy for me in standing under the Amazon Books sign and knowing this could be the first of many more. A spokesperson for the company said “We hope this will not be our only one, but we’ll see.” In the photo I’m holding a Starbucks cup. The first one in the world was in Seattle and now is all over the world. May it be with printed book stores, whether Amazon or otherwise!

To read more about the opening of this store:



3 thoughts on “The Demise of the Printed Book has been Greatly Exaggerated

  1. Hi Steve! I can relate… in part. “Part” is the word! If I am honest I will say with producer Samuel Goldwyn “I read part of it all the way through!” I am on my second go at “Suitable Boy” volume one. I read it in ’96, and can’t remember it. I never read 2 and 3 which adorn my shelf. Let’s hope I do better, I only seem to read on planes.

    But I love bookstores. Especially second hand books! When I was young my Mum often took me to one in Santa Barbara, which had collectible, antique, and tattered second hand books. And a cat. Always a cat. Like you, I like being in their presence. I have a few old ones in my studio flat. I may never read them, but their beauty and history grounds and comforts me.


    1. Thanks Becky for reading and commenting. I agree with you on second hand bookstores. My favorite by far. Keep going with Suitable Boy. It is long and hard to get through as you’ve found, but well worth the read in the end, or at least I thought so.


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