The Original Internet: Still a Great Place to Visit


toadstool bookstore independent bookstore keene new hampshire


As happens many a Sunday, today I spent the afternoon with some friends getting brunch and then browsing an independent bookstore on Court Street in Brooklyn.

I spend an unhealthy amount of time browsing blogs and websites. Fewer and fewer of these sites (and their content) are inspiring me. Yes, there is a lot of interesting stuff going on with Facebook, OpenSocial and the like, but everyone writes about the same stuff. It’s really a Catch 22: to be well-read you need to write about what everyone else writes about (think Techmeme). However, to be an upper echelon blog, you need to write original innovative stuff and have the rest of the blogosphere follow your lead.

Bookstores however, never fail to inspire – especially the independent ones. They are the original Internet, a place to find an organized smorgasbord of ideas. You pick something up, browse it, and if you choose to, purchase it for further dissection and enjoyment at home. Also, the best independent bookstores have the critical asset lacking from most mainstream chains: a knowledgeable staff. These guys and gals are the equivalent to Google – they make intelligent recommendations; often so good that you walk away having dropped $50 when all you anticipated doing was window-shopping. The great thing about a knowledgeable book salesman is that not only can he recommend something, but he can also tell you why you might like it.

Maybe this is Google’s killer next app.

In any event, if you’re looking for some inspiration, or simply to do something not involving your laptop, go find a bookstore and get lost for a while.


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