No, I’m not talking about Christmas, we’ve all lived through that quite recently. No, I’m talking about the Swedish book tradition – Bokrean – The Big Book Sale.
At the end of February every year all bookstores, IRL or online, offers all the books they want to get rid of or are try to convince us to buy them at a really good price, a bargain hopefully.
I remember the Book Sale as something very special growing up. Flipping through the brochure from the nearest book store, trying to choose what to buy. For some reason I always wanted to buy more than my wallet wanted…
The book store, Hallmans, in my hometown rented a special cellar and spent days unpacking loads and loads of books from their store, marked them with a really good price and at midnight that magical, special day the customers formed a line outside, queuing to have a chance at the real bargains. If you were lucky you could find some rarities in there. It was a chance for the bookstores, and publishers, to clean out the old, unsellable books, and make room for new goodies.
Today… not so much…
Today it’s all become a big commercial thing. The publishers decide which books will be on sale, it’s not a bookstore cleanout anymore, and it’s almost impossible to find those special, rarities anymore. It makes me sad. It’s like the soul of the whole thing has been ripped out. Flipping through this year’s catalogue I realise that many of the books are only a few months old, and already selling for 1/3 or half the ordinary price.
It’s sad. Not only for us, the consumers, the book nerds, but for the authors whose books are solf for 50% after just being released. Is the book market dying? Is this the end of it all? I don’t know, I hope not, and I sure as hell miss that special feeling of Bokrean. And the feeling of making a really good bargain.