Bookseller, where art thou?
What happened to the art of bookselling? The days when you'd skip out of a bookshop hugging a treasured book that the bookseller specifically recommended to you and you alone, and you knew that he'd be recommending a totally different kind of book to the next customer.
And that's because a true bookseller knows his customers' reading habits and has a relationship with them, which is a bit like a doctor's: a very narrow knowledge of them, but it's quite deep. Often, people's reading habits are quite an intimate part of them, which is why when your bookseller suggests a book, you know that you won't pause to breathe until you've finished it.
I have to say here that James Sapienza keeps coming to mind (of Sapienzas' Booksellers in Valletta - the brothers folded their 104-year-old book business a couple of years ago). Only the other day a friend was telling me how Sapienza had introduced him to all the new authors he has ever read. "It was brilliant: I'd go in and he'd be saying: 'I've got just the book for you'," he said.
I remember all the exciting book finds when I worked there. Sapienza once came up to us with this book of a then obscure author, Yann Martel. In a matter of weeks all the staff had read Life of Pi and we couldn't stop talking about it to anyone who came to the shop. It went on to win the Booker."(more)http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20090927/opinion/bookseller-where-art-thou