How to be a responsible book lover

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You would need to be living under an insulated rock to be unaware of the fragile state the publishing industry currently finds itself in. It is a rough time for bookshops and books in general. And if we, the book loving public do not act responsibly, the books we love so much will deteriorate into eBooks, our bookshops will disappear and our libraries will shut down. Imagine, the horror of never being able to flip through the crisp pages of a well crafted work or not having the pleasures of reading the previous reader’s notes in a second hand book.

I remember the inflated outrage people who were not even regular patrons of the Labia illustrated when they discovered that the Orange Street theatre was about to close. Or when we found out that the Cinema Nouveau in Cavendish was closing down. Too much feigned outrage, always too late.

If we do not want this to happen to us, we need to be proactive.

So hence here I have compiled a list of how we can all be responsible book lovers and how we can keep the book industry alive.

How we can all be responsible book lovers

  1. If you are a book lover support the bookshops you cherish. You need to remind them with your love and support that at least you (if no one else) needs their existence.
  2. Attend your bookshop’s and library's events, talks and book launches.
  3. Love alone does not pay the bills, buy a book or two from your bookstore when you can.
  4. If you appreciate the person from the bookshop or library you get books from, tell them, chat to them, they are human too and they need to be reminded that we cherish passionate bookshop and library staff.
  5. Buy from good, reputable and ethical book sellers. There was a recent article that stated that Exclusive Books lost R5 million due to theft. If you see a brand new book being sold at a street corner, question where the copy came from. It is not rocket science.
  6. If possible please do support bookshops more than eTailers. Let us support our local shops.
  7. If you find a book you like at the library then buy a copy if you can. It is hard to be an author, let us not neglect them.
  8. If you love a local author then let them know. They too are human. Attend their launches, talks and events.
  9. If you absolutely have to, then buy the eBook – the author will still get some royalties for that.
  10. Then the basics I was given when my Papa first took me to the library. Do not lick your fingers before turning pages. The pages of the book will not like that.
  11. Do not fold the corners of the pages – books are not dogs so they do not need ears. That is what book marks were created for. Same point applies to the below point.
  12. Please do not leave a book open, face down, on any surface. It hurts the book’s spine. Books may not be human, but they do have feelings too. Please take care of them.
  13. If you do not have any loaning issues then share your books. Spreading and sharing the love found in the words of talented writers is an added bonus of reading.
  14. If you are a writer – a good writer with ideas worth sharing – then write. We need you. What is a good bookshop without its good local content?
  15. Support book festivals. On that note the programme for the Open Book Festival is up, click here to view it.
  16. And lastly but most importantly. Read

Of course again I can be accused of being biased as always since I do work in the publishing industry. But before my career I am a lover of books.

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