Tue 21 November 2006 at 5.00 pm

‘Touching Paper: the Post-Internet Bookshop’: John Mitchinson

Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies

Publishing Research Seminar

Taking Place: Buckley BG11 in Semester 1 2006

As the tail of the online inventory of books grows ever longer, what is the point of bricks-and-mortar bookshops? If we can choose our own favourites online, and often pay less for them, do we really need vast book emporia on our high streets carrying only a fraction of what's available? At QI we think it's time for a new model bookshop. Books are important. Every human activity finds its correlative in a book. Books change lives. They are tactile, moveable portals to an infinity of new worlds. Instead of dull warehouses, bookshops should become high street academies, enriching people with knowledge and leading the campaign to make the world more interesting. The adventure starts here...

John Mitchinson is one of the main writers on the BBC2 TV panel show QI, hosted by Stephen Fry and is co-author with QI's founder John Lloyd of The Book of General Ignorance (Faber). He is a director of the QI Club & Bookshop in Oxford. He was Waterstone's first marketing director and was subsequently Managing Director of The Harvill Press and Cassell & Co. He is chair of the London Centre for International Storytelling and a Vice President of the Hay Festival.