Was it so bad in the past?

Flicking through The Times I come across an article on bookshops, browsing and the internet. Authors saying that they miss browsing and the serendipity of the bookshop; but one didn’t miss the old bookshops with ‘an old dragon’ at the desk or only the works of Mao on the shelf.

Now, I remember independent bookshops too, and not in that light. I remember commitment, a wide stock range, a genuine service. Am I wrong? Was it really all so bad? And the same argument goes for libraries- they are portrayed as uniformly bad. But I remember my local library as a great place, and the public library in my college town (Aberystwyth) in the same way. Am I wrong? Not being famous I can hardly be right now, can I 😉

I feel that too often the past is painted as bad as possible so that people can present themselves as the ‘saviours’ of libraries/bookshops/whatever. But cack-tinted specs are no better than rose-tinted ones.

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