Book Talk: Physical or Virtual Bookshops?

07:32 Cilla P 4 Comments

Once, not so long ago, my friends and I went to a crowded shopping mall. While they were trying on clothes in one of the stores, I was getting bored out of my mind and feeling suffocated. I excused myself and made a beeline for the bookshop. I half-expected angels to sing as I stepped inside; I was that relieved to be there.

Another time, when I was looking to complete my collection of The Grisha, I went into the bookshop near my workplace and was told they didn't have any in store. They said I could order it online on their website. I could have, but I stubbornly never did. Instead, I was always on the lookout for Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising every time I visited a bookshop. It took me almost two months and multiple trips to different shops before I found them.

Readings - one of my favourite bookshops ever
I don't think it'll come as a surprise to anyone reading this blog right now, especially after reading the above, when I tell you that I love bookshops. Particularly, I am partial to physical bookshops rather than virtual ones.

I love the general peace and quiet; people leave you alone when you browse books in a way they never do when you browse in a boutique.

I enjoy the search; I like scanning book spines and covers until that triumphant moment where I manage to find what I'm looking for. I like the fact that, while I'm looking for a particular book, I may stumble on a different title that I have never heard of. This is particularly relevant to independent bookshops, in which I frequently lose track of time.

It breaks my heart when bookshops close their doors permanently, so I make an effort to go buy from them rather than from, say, Amazon. I'm really wary about online shopping in general anyway; all those warnings about sharing your credit card information online have really lodged themselves in my brain.

There are times, however, when I'm grateful for online bookshops. For instance, it's amazing for finding books the shops around me don't seem to carry. For instance, I had been looking for the last 20-something installments of Animorphs for years in vain before finally getting them online. My mother has been after Emily's Quest for ages, and I found it the other day on Book Depository. As much as I like the hunt, eventually I get to a point when I just want the book in my hands already. And speaking of Book Depository, it tends to be kinder to my bank account than a regular bookshop. Plus, there's something delightful about getting books in the mail; it's really like getting a present from yourself.

Still, in general, I prefer shopping in a physical bookshop, and would only buy online when I absolutely cannot get the book elsewhere.

Do you prefer buying books from a physical bookshop or online? Why?


  1. I have to confess that I am an online purchaser - not just for books, but for just about EVERYTHING. I just so love the convenience of having things delivered to my door - I already have to run around driving kids to their activities, etc. If there's a trip I can avoid, I do!

    That being said, I do love browsing bookshops when I happen by them. I agree that there's something special about perusing the shelves that you just don't get on Amazon!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. I can totally understand that! Online shopping is so much easier when you have such a busy schedule :)

  2. I like actually bookstores! There's just a general sense of happiness you get from walking into a bookstore, and actively looking for your book. And when you find it, the happiness you feel for actually finding it means you deserve it, and nothing beats that feeling!
    I just generally love bookstores. Unlike online, there's nothing to distract you. Plus, like you said, there's this sense of peace. You're surrounded by people who love books to some extend, too, and it's comforting!
    Great discussion :)

    1. Yess exactly! To me, bookshops are like little sanctuaries in the middle of the madness that is a shopping mall, haha. Thanks Erica! :)


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