Thursday, September 5, 2013

Do you support your local bookstores?

When I posted this on my Instagram and Facebook accounts today, all my friends from overseas seemed to love the typography, and asked me what it was for. In short, it's a prepaid shopping card I bought to support my favorite bookstore in Istanbul. 

Rob Crusoe 389 started as a project with the tagline, "wall-to-wall books." Having stayed true to that promise, its walls ARE filled with books. In addition, it's one of the few bookstores in the city where you can get books in foreign languages. If they don't have what you're looking for, they'll order it for you and won't try to rip you off with shipping, etc. charges: when your book arrives, you just pay whatever it says on it, using that day's exchange rates. On top of all that, their staff is nice and helpful, and they don't give you dirty looks or ask you to leave when you touch all their books or sit on their stairs to get lost in one, making way to fellow bookworms passing by because it's a tiny, cozy space. You can see the stairs I'm talking about in this picture:

The place Rob Crusoe 389 is located (Istiklal Street) is in the heart of Istanbul's European side. That being said, it's also home to a lot of construction work and every single protest ever organized. The rent there, of course, is already high and keeps getting higher. And this is why Rob Crusoe 389 was in trouble; they had to make money and make it fast. And they came up with a creative solution that benefits everyone.

They came up with Robkart, the card I'm holding in the photo. What happens is, you put money in to purchase a card (no extra charge for the card itself), and then, when you buy books from this store, you'll use the money in your card. This way, they make money without having to sell many books at once. And you get to go buy your money's worth of books whenever you want. They've also been organizing events where writers who support them sign books at the store. So readers get to buy their cards and get their books signed.

Everyone's worried about e-books killing printed word, but the thing is, WE will if we give into online shopping and free shipping. I myself often purchase books online. I also go to Rob Crusoe 389 often and purchase my books there. So, support your local bookstores to make sure these 'happy places' you go to hide and clear your mind don't disappear.

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