I’m always a little disappointed when picking through the corpse of flagging UK media retailer HMV. Not because there are no good books on their rapidly reducing shelves, but because they’re are no bad ones. Fact is there are plenty of good books on offer, so many that I keep having to stay my hand from buying them, because my quality “to read” pile is too high already.
[Pinch your irony here]
I’m a little concerned as to why there were no bad books on the shelves in HMV (let’s put aside the argument that there is no such thing as a bad book, because so help me, there is).
Are the stockists and merchandisers so good at their jobs that only decent, good books are on the shelves? Well if that’s the case, and their staff are so good at their jobs, why in the world do they keep going out of business?
It seems more likely that their shop assistants have until now been pushing the wrong products, sending customers home with all those dreadful texts wrapped in horrible imagery that are now missing from the shelves. That would go some way to explaining why those inevitably disappointed customers and their cash never returned, and why the stores are going under.
It strikes me that had voracious readers know that decent quality books were on HMV’s shelves, we might have rushed along to snap them up and saved the unfortunate store from plunging deeper and deeper into the depths of administration. Such a waste…
An ultimately more terrifying notion perhaps is that me and this blog are part of a wider trend, and crap looking books are being snapped up all over by excited ironic readers and critics alike, while supposedly good books are being shunned just for being good, and are left on the shelves.
If that’s so then my job is going to get harder… and the hunt for book-fodder is going to get a whole lot more exciting.