The Incredible Machine

I keep thinking about this Kieslowski fragment. I admit I don’t remember much of the rest of the movie. This fragment is more or less all I carried away. The puppet master and the dying ballerina. They are joined, related, married into something altogether different. In the artistry of an artist. Speaking of which, the artistry of a bookseller was always a bit fuzzy, complicated. Are we just the guys that push coins over the front desk? Or is there still some magic in little bookshops, those few remaining ones?

My friend Natasha sent me a link to this Rube Goldberg video. I watched it once. A couple of days later I decided to take another look.

It is his face that is so beautiful. He is from another planet, no? The way I understand it is that the whole construction of the incredible machine relates to the rational side of personality. Yours, mine, doesn’t matter. Rationality makes all these incredible bridges and not always the easiest and the most logical connections. It doesn’t always get you where you want and the way you want it. But it does protect the creative inner being. That is important. As long as I can manage to protect my inner being and keep it as innocent, as curious and as alive as this guy’s beautiful face – Book Depository and Amazon can both go to hell. I’ll keep constructing my incredible machine. Whatever the twist, turn or shape it may take.

On Wednesday we went dark together with thousands of web sites all across the universe. It might look a bit funny or pretentious. Such a small and insignificant bookshop joins the protest. After all, we make our living by selling intellectual property and yet we seemingly disagree with the act that is supposed to stop piracy. Well, I tend to agree with Cory Doctorow that no level of piracy justifies the proposed measures.

I’ve read this nice piece about how independent booksellers should stop trying to compete with online retailers. A day or two later I ran into this email from a disillusioned publisher employee. Very interesting. One of the problems I see is that the complete book industry pricing system has been turned obsolete. It was originally designed to appreciate each and every single creative input in the bookselling network. Now the list price mutated into a mere concept, useful psychological tool in the hands of big players and a heavy burden around the necks of independents.

I followed links to articles pro and contra independent bookshops. I’ve learned that Ann Patchett, American novelist has recently opened a bookshop. She could not stand living in a city without a single bookshop.

On my hyper-walks I stumbled upon this lovely independent bookshop that opened in 2011 in Rockland, Maine, USA, town of less than eight thousand inhabitants.

In real life, I happened to walk past Smetumet window on Celovška and liked it a lot. And I continued to read 1Q84. Slowly.