Last night my sister pointed out to me that I have said many times that I am not going to buy any more books until I have finished the ones that I already have. And why did she have to remind me of this vow? Yes, you guessed it! I went out and bought two books yesterday. I've pretty much given-up on that vow. In fact, I don't know why I still say it. Maybe in the far reaches of my mind, I actually think that I will be able to hold my book-buying impulses in check and resist the call of new books anytime I step into a bookshop.
I'm quite good whenever I go to Nu Metro at the Silverbird Galleria. Nu Metro, and many other shops, wrap-up their books and magazines in clear cellophane so that you cannot flip through the books leaving your grubby little paw-prints all over it and creasing the covers in the process. I guess from a business person's point of view, this makes good sense afterall who is going to buy a supposedly 'new' book that looks like it's gone through ten different owners? But, from the same business p.o.v, it makes sense to give the buyers a taste of what they'd be getting. Even if they decide to wrap-up most of the books, they might consider leaving one copy unwrapped so that buyers can flip through and decide if it's something that they'd be interested in. Since many bookshops do not tend to stock many copies of each book, perhaps this would not be feasible.
The other fear of booksellers, of course, is that you will read the whole book/magazine in the store and not need to buy it afterwards. Sorry, but isn't this part of the draw of bookshops? I've spent many happy hours in bookshops reading whole books that I had absolutely no intention of buying. However, chances were that the longer I was in the store and encouraged to return, the more I likely I was to buy books from there. So, what's the lesson here? I guess it is that you have to spend money to get money. Okay, perhaps easier said than done from a profit-making p.o.v especially in Nigeria's tough economic climate. But, just my 2 kobo both as a book-lover and someone who has extensive experience working in bookshops.
So yesterday when I visited bookshops (Bookworm and Quintessence) that did not wrap their books up, I of course perused away to my heart's content and ended-up buying books in both shops. Quintessence has a great selection of Nigerian books for children, in case you are interested. So does Nu Metro, in all fairness, and you might even be able to flip through them. Bookworm has expanded it's store area, with fiction in the first room and non-fiction in the adjoining room. There's also a seating area. Very good, Bookworm!
Oh, I didn't mention my new books. They are Sweet Summer: Growing Up With and Without My Dad by Bebe Moore Campbell and Defying the Odds: Case Studies of Nigerian Organisations That Have Survived Generations by the youth and business leadership NGO, LEAP Africa. I have already read most of Defying the Odds and it's a very interesting read and provides very good guidelines for family businesses that tend to wither away after the founder dies or leaves the business. I can't wait to start Sweet Summer. Hmmm, maybe I'll hold off on Great Expectations for now. Oh, I don't know. I'll figure it out.