When I was living in India, the way I bought my books sadly was almost exclusively via Amazon. I think back to those days when I first began to read in earnest and could afford to buy more. I would come across a recommendation on the inter-webs and into my Amazon wish-list it went. Depending on the price of the book and my reading backlog I would order as opportunity arose. Since it was almost guaranteed that Amazon would have the lowest price for any book I never bought anything from bookstores. Something that really pains me to acknowledge in the recent years.
One day I came across an article recommending this massive tome. The illustrated edition of The Books of Earthsea. I was much more into fantasy back then and immediately looked it up on Amazon. This was in 2018. I balked at the price of the book and for the first time ever used the Amazon wish-list feature. The hope was that someday I could afford to place that order. Years passed by. I since added many books to the wish-list and this one got pushed to the bottom. It was still beautiful and desirable so I never forgot about it.
Roughly 5 years have passed since then and I was looking at other stuff on a different kind of wishlist. Places to visit in Prague. There was place called The Electric Sheep Book Bar that was due to reopen soon and looked like the perfect place for a book lover to visit. It was a late Sunday evening and I stepped to this quaint little basement place.
There was a wall with books for sale and as I sat down at a bar stool and settled down, the first book I noticed was The Book of Earthsea sitting in it’s own little cove with a little spotlight above. I nearly jumped off the bar stool and went over to it, like somebody might snatch it away before I did. Somehow I knew that the place to buy the book was there and then.
Those who don’t love books as much as I do would never understand this feeling. I kept thinking of the circumstances and the events it took for me to finally find this book here. Not just some faceless corporation delivering it to me back home but in a place that calls itself a book bar in a different continent altogether.
To sweeten the whole situation was the fact that the price of the book was lesser than what I would have paid on Amazon. But in that moment it would not have mattered. I would have paid any price. What mattered was that a place like this exists. That people forever remember the pleasures that only books can offer.