The ethics of book browsing.

The Company of Books, Ranelagh.

The Company of Books, Ranelagh.

I don’t buy hardbacks. I find them heavy, awkward and unnecessary. Yet every time I go to The Company of Books in Ranelagh, I end up buying one. The reason is that it is one of those bookshops where the stock is chosen by the owner, and so you invariably stumble across books that you would not normally see in the big chains amidst the Teenage Vampire Porn and the Bondage Porn and Jeremy Clarkson.

Sure, I could note the book down, and probably find it cheaper online, but that is actually wrong. Here is someone running a business selling books, not running a book showroom, and we have a moral obligation to support those businesses if we actually want to keep them open. I’m not just referring to this bookshop but independent bookshops in general (Raven Books in Blackrock and The Ranelagh Bookshop are two others).

And yes, I say this as someone who has published on Kindle. But all three are great bookshops and it is a question of use them or lose them.

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