Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Well, after three months of searching for it, I finally found a copy of "Being and Time" in a bookstore. I have been to countless large bookstores in the last months, and none of them thought it was important enough to carry, apparently. I had considered getting it from Amazon, but then I sort of missed the fun of searching for something in the real world. Also, I've read that little bookstores are having trouble keeping afloat since everyone now shops on Amazon. Sure enough, a little bookstore had it, and actually knew why it was important.

I got the feeling that they're also having trouble keeping up in the era of on-line shopping. In a way, this seems counter-intuitive to me; don't most of those stores sell books online through Amazon? So, wouldn't they now have a much larger group of customers to sell to? It would make sense that they would be doing better in the online era. And yet, it does make a certain sense that they would be suffering. When I go to a bookstore looking for "Being and Time", I end up buying other books. Actually, I've gotten a stack of other books in my search for this one book. So, the focused on-line search cuts out the chance of me browsing. Sure, Amazon tells you books that supposedly relate to your purchases, but those are always silly, if not disturbing. A good bookstore worker would actually know what books are similar to mine- not a random list of books that other people who bought "Being and Time" also bought.

My point here is that the experience of shopping online can be easier, but it can also be lonelier. It also removes the element of chance and randomness that makes life in the ever-changing physical world so enjoyable. Just wandering around the world is pleasurable. I've said before that I've learned more in short walks than I have from entire books, and this is true.

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