“No, that’s not available, I’m sorry…”
I don’t know how many times I have heard that sentence. Or something very similar.
You see, I am from Germany. And I love books. The only problem is, hearing about great new books or reading about the latest bestsellers on the internet is usually the first step to misery. I tend to have this unreal idea of getting every book I’d like to read in this globalized world, where a guy from Laos chats with you and tells you the best way to get from Germany to Peru via China.
But then I go to a couple of well-known German websites, type in the name of the book or the author, and get – nothing. Not available. Never heard of it. What?
Well, by now I really should know the reality. But naïve as I am, I think I’ll just try a book shop then. With all the qualified staff there, should be no problem to find the book in no time. Only just after popping the big question the truth is revealed. This girl standing in front of me, her nameplate shining like it’s the first time she’s wearing it, doesn’t know the first thing about books or authors or even about how to use the big computer thingy in front of her. After half an hour of pure agony, torn between the impulse of either slapping the girl or starting to cry, I leave.
You’d think I’ve learned my lesson after trying this for uncountable times. I haven’t.
The terrible truth is, even if you don’t care whether a book is in German or in English, you still can’t read it. Unless you order it on a British website, for example. But for me personally, that’s just too expensive.
I found a solution though: Ignore the news about great books. Turn blind and deaf temporarily. But does that really solve the problem?
To all German bookstores: Please consider all these people who are isolated from the rest of the publishing world!