Things That Make You Go Phwoar

This blog comes in three parts and features things that make you go phwoar.

Part One

Travelling for work to somewhere where you’re both insanely busy and don’t happen to speak the language mean that you invariably exist in a media-blockout bubble. So when things happen that would normally make you go phwoar, they kind make you go phwoar doubly so.

I’m a few days late to the phwoar party, but I can’t actually comprehend the news that’s finally filtered through to me that Amazon will be swallowing The Book Depository. Nor am I sure what to make of it.

On one level, it’s heartening to see that a company can successfully develop itself to the extent that it’s sought after and purchased by larger companies. On another, it’s frightening to see companies swallowed up by multinationals that dominate the market and stifle competition.

Methinks that many customers went to The Book Depository because it offered an alternative to Amazon. I wonder what they’ll do now. I wonder what this means for writers and publishers? And I wonder what this means for The Book Depository itself? Will it continue to run as is? Will it continue to be innovative and worldwide shipping free?

Honestly (and this isn’t just because I blog for this good online bookstore), now more than ever I’m pleased that I buy my books from Boomerang Books. And I will continue to do so. They’re Australian-owned, they’re environmentally friendly (in fact, they’re Australia’s first carbon-neutral bookstore), they offer great service, and they’re competitively priced.

I’m not anti-Amazon, but I do think we need some alternative options, particularly ones that align with our principles ethically. Who knows? One day Amazon might be looking to buy Boomerang Books.

Part Two

Irony is an English-language section in a German bookstore when you’ve already got too many books and too little time in which to read them.

Not only did a German bookstore I stumbled across in Augsburg (renamed ‘Ausburg’ by the Australian football fans) and get sucked into via its books gravitational pull have English books, they had them front and centre in their most prominent, front-of-shop bay. Sigh. It took all my willpower to walk away.

And yes, I wondered why I didn’t stumble across such a nirvana when I was book-less in South America last year.

Part Three

Ok, this isn’t strictly book related, but given that it’s an important life lesson, I think it’s worth a mention: Make sure you’re fully clothed when you go near your open hotel room door. Those doors are well oiled and prone to swinging shut (a more cynical person might say deliberately so), and few things are more embarrassing than a dodgy-pyjama walk of shame down to reception.

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Fiona Crawford

Fiona Crawford is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, proofreader, and voracious reader. She regularly appears as a book reviewer in Australian BOOKSELLER+PUBLISHER magazine. Fiona is also (unfairly) known as the Book Burglar due to her penchant for buying family members—then permanently borrowing—books she wants to read herself.