In my teenage years there was one favourite bookstore in town, Nusa Indah (literally means beautiful island). There was no good library back then — school library collection was mostly classical Indonesian literature that I finished reading (not all but most) and scientific journals that bored me easily. And so Agatha Christie, Enyd Blyton, Karl May, and more local and international writers’ books displayed in Nusa Indah lured me instantly. Indonesian Nina comic books and books with weird titles would also do me some intrigue.
Until uni years that bookstore was still a place to hang out every time I visited my parents. Yet I was slightly disappointed when finding Nusa Indah name didn’t even exist in my last visit this year. It was nowhere to find. A big electronic store is now situated where my favourite bookstore was in. When I asked my cousins about its whereabouts, they said it was gradually scaled down and closed several years ago.
There is no more representative bookstore in town. Maybe because the city libraries have better collection? Or, people prefer reading e-books? Heaven knows.
Is it possible that people don’t like reading as they did before? Nowadays information is coming like heavy rain and they don’t have to spend time to hunt readings anymore; people just need to search in the Net and boom! all needed info is abundantly provided. When I was young, information was expensive, luxurious, curated through written media and hard to find like water in a deep well — we had to read as much and keen as we could in order to be informative.
Maybe it is time for traditional bookstore to die. My friends said bookstores in their cities are vanishing too. One good bookstore in Jakarta called QB was closed in 2006. Kinokuniya Jakarta was closed in 2021. Gramedia sells more stationery and school bags than books.
Time flies. Oldies dies. Let’s fly with time without losing wisdom and sanity by reading life. Yet stay young in heart! 💝