Death of the book….

24 Nov

Is it the death of the book as I know it?

Tonight in Phnom Penh I tried desperately to swap an original Lonely Planet guidebook for a new one on Vietnam before I go to Vietnam in a few days.

Off I went to the bookshop which had a sign saying “buy, sell all books”.  She offered me a dollar for a used novel but nothing for the LP.

“Do not want” she said.

I walked alongside the Mekong River which is full of little stalls selling books (all copies).  I tried a new tact…”two books for one….good for you, good for me”.

“Cannot” was the reply.

I went into another bookshop where the vendor was hiding behind a pile of used books.  I asked her if she was interested in my LP.

She said “no, these books are gifts from travellers, cannot buy second hand but can sell you copy”.  I tried to tell her that the copies are poor quality and fall apart in a few days with their poor bindings…but to no avail.  She wouldn’t even swap two for one.

I tried a 7 year old book seller in the street carrying his little box of “copy, new books” around his neck.  He took a cursory glance at my books pointed to a tiny fold in the corner and said “no good, not new, no one buy old books”.  He tried to persuade me to buy some of his “copy, new books” wrapped in clear cellophane.

The trouble with all this copy book business which seems to be huge here is that the death of the original book seems upon us…no one wanted my second hand LP.  And I didn’t want a copy where the maps are so fuzzy you can’t read them at night, the edition date on the back has been updated by a year, and the pages fall out after a few days…

And if everyone buys copies what will happen to the book industry? And what happens to all these copy books which only last a few weeks?  Is it truly the death of the book as we know it?

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4 Responses to “Death of the book….”

  1. jakesprinter November 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    You have a great article here Angie keep up the good work 🙂

    • angiemain November 27, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

      Thank for your comment Jake! It just makes me worry as I love books!

  2. Sylvi November 28, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    won’t mention the kindle then!!!

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