Today I read a Guardian article about the iconic bookshop Shakespeare and Company, across the Seine from the Notre Dame in Paris. It made me remember our own trips to Paris, and Elmine browsing the mentioned bookstore. I thought about having a box of nice books sent to our home, as a souvenir now that we can’t visit other cities for inspiration ourselves. The website was clearly not equipped to deal with the Guardian readership taking the article as a cue to order something the same way I did, so it took all day to get through and place an order. (Peter, they also suggested ‘Ma vie à Paris‘ en francais, not in English though)
The Shakespeare and Company bookstore, photo by Zoetnet, license CC BY
While trying to order I thought about how there are other cities we love to visit. Could I order a box of interesting and beautiful things from several cities, and present them as gifts to E to travel in our mind? Cities such as Copenhagen. Maybe I thought, I can have something shipped from a Danish ceramics artisan we appreciate, Inge Vincents. We have several things she made in our home, mementos from different trips.
Inge Vincents’ store on Jægersborggade, when we visited in 2012
But I cannot order with her, because Inge Vincents uses Instagram as her only sales channel online. Instagram doesn’t allow me to scroll past the first few images without an account, let alone interact with the poster to request a quote. It’s something E and I have seen with a wider variety of artisans. Do they realise their shops are within walled gardens where not all are able to visit? How many missed sales will they never notice?
I beat you to the front door of Sh&Co., last week, ordering a book of poetry. My rationale for this and similar exploits is that I’m helping to preserve culture that I one day hope to experience face to face.
The killer feature ordering books from Sh&Co. is that they will, at your option, stamp books for you. Also, for 83 cents extra, they will include a hand-typed poem. Amazon can’t do that.
Ha! Interesting cross-Atlantic synchronisity!