Book are revered in Europe

Travelling through Europe this past spring, I was amazed at the number of small book stores that were found in the centre of the cities we visited.
I couldn’t help but wonder why in Europe, small book stores could be so successful. Yet here in Canada, we seem to see all the independent stores disappearing in favour of box store sellers.
Perhaps the clue to the book store phenomena is the fact that travelling through five countries, each has their own language and separate culture. The stores cater focus on their uniqueness.
More probable is the fact that there is not a big enough market to attract the large book stores.
The European book stores always seemed busy, with lots of people browsing through the shelves, picking out books, and leafing through them. For tourists, there was a smattering of some English printed books.
Most of those small book stores would be less than 1,000 square feet in size, and the shelves would go from the floor to the ceiling.
Book publishing is thriving in Europe. Travelling on the boat, mostly made up of North Americans, few actually were reading soft or hard-covered books. For convenience, their books were found on Kindles, Nooks, and iPads.
And when they had finished a title, they could download a new book from North America.
It was a stark contrast to what we were seeing in the heart of Amsterdam or Vienna or Budapest. In those cities, books are revered.
The book sellers that everyone in Fort Frances is familiar with are Walmart and occasionally Safeway. Pharmasave carries a smattering of soft-covered novel.
Betty’s, meanwhile, probably has the best selection of Canadian and aboriginal titles in Northwestern Ontario. And they include books for all ages, from infants through to adults.
It is a specialty niche—and one that few people know about. Many titles focus on our region and local writers often have book-signings in the store.
If you are looking for a book about wild flowers, or mushrooms or plants of the area, Betty’s probably will have a title to suit your needs.
Yes, we can all comment on the fact that the various forms of electronic readers can have hundreds of books stored on them.
Maybe Europeans understand that holding a book, whether hard- or soft-cover, and feeling the texture of the pages as they are turned, is a much more intimate experience with the story and the author of the book.
Certainly the book stores in all the cities I visited tell a lot about the country and its people.

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