Foyles bookshop came to Bristol, and I was so excited that I wanted to queue outside for the opening. At work instead on opening day, I waited until the weekend, dragging Ben down into town with me for my intended statement of support for the miserable book trade. I knew what I wanted to buy, and I was going to buy it, at cover price, from a brand new book shop. I work in publishing and I was going to set an example.
I got there. It was beautifully laid out, but not very busy. I browsed and flicked pages and pointed things out, and settled on the books I wanted. Wandering around the shop with them in my hand, I realised gradually that I couldn't go through with it.
I think I'm ruined for bookshops. Spoiled by Amazon, too used to glorious second-hand bookshops and spoiled by internet undercutting. Even my guilt didn't stop me from buying both of my chosen titles (for the price I would have paid for one in the bookshop), from the Amazon machine. I was reminded of my guilt by this New York Times visual of beautiful cover designs that were discarded along the publishing way – it's a perfect illustration of just how much time and energy goes into every book, and puts my miserly attitude to shame.
One day, I tell myself, when I have the means to do it, I'll go back into one of those new bookshops and I'll put all this right – the problem is, by then there might not be any of them left.