A couple of days ago, I spent the morning at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont, one of my favorite places to shop. I was hoping to find a good, easy read; a mystery or a science fiction novel. Something escapist. I am also researching information about the American Revolution, so I thought I might find a book in the history section. I did, indeed, pick up David Brin’s latest science fiction novel, Existence. I’d been waiting for this title to be available in paperback, and could just have easily bought it online.
But I love browsing bookstores and usually stick my nose in all corners. Which is how I ended up purchasing a book I had never heard of before: How the Hippies Saved Physics, by David Kaiser. This is a delightful account about a group of far-out physicists in the 1970s who revived the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics, and how that has led to a technology revolution today.
This was a completely serendipitous purchase. I was close to being ready to check out, when I took my stroll through the Science section, and there it was, staring at me from the shelf. I never would have found this wonderful book if I limited my shopping to Amazon or any online bookseller, because I had no idea it existed, that I would want to read it, so I had no thought of looking for it.
You can only make these discoveries in a good bookstore, run by book lovers.
P.S. By the title of this post, I don’t mean that Amazon will not end up putting all bricks and mortar bookstores out of business (sadly, I think that’s a possibility). I just mean, this is why a real bookstore is a far better place to buy books… even if you have to pay a few dollars more.