"Bookshops are machines for serendipity--opportunities to discover the books you didn't know you wanted. The algorithmic recommendations served up by online booksellers can't compete with the pleasure of finding something unexpected on the shelves of a bookshop, reading a dozen pages standing up and knowing, as you shift your weight from foot to foot, that you've got to take it home. And no online search engine can match the knowledge of booksellers, who have an almost superhuman ability to locate the book you're looking for, even if you can only remember the color of the cover.... Whether we think of bookshops as places we can escape the pressures of the world, or spaces in which to imagine its transformation, a world without them would be infinitely poorer."
'Bookshops Are Machines for Serendipity'
--Tom Mole, author of The Secret Life of Books, in a column for The Big Issue