A Second Place

I get it now: The attraction to and the practicality of e-readers like Kindle and iPad. It’s not just about packing all your reading material in one slim, lightweight instrument, but it’s also about saving trees, printing costs and space.

So it saves shelf space in your house. If, as new media practitioners prophesy, print media dies out in the next five to seven years, then in ten years, nobody will need bookshelves and libraries in their homes.

And bookstores will become obsolete.

Que horror.

My first experience of a second place was Scribe & Brewer on the fifth floor of the Shangri-la Plaza back home. I was an architecture student, design books weren’t so accessible then, and this bookshop cafe was one of the fewest places you can order hard-to-get books from. This became my second place, and when it shut down a couple of years later, I was heartbroken.

What will be on the corner of Orchard and Scotts when Borders – heaven forbid – closes after publishers stop printing book and magazines? All those readers will be second-place-less. A cafe alone won’t be the same.

I dare say it’ll be as paralyzing worldwide as the no-fly air-space in Europe this week.