Many years ago, I would walk, or bicycle, or drive to A Change of Hobbit bookstore, first in Westwood village near UCLA (where I was a student), then in a Westwood storefront, and finally in a Santa Monica shop on Lincoln Avenue, to see and buy the latest SF books and magazines. Before chain superstores and online booksellers, it was the only source in LA for the true stuff, especially hardcovers, anything other than the generic paperbacks available anywhere. But what I remember, in one of those latter days before Sherry Gotlieb finally shut down back around 1992, was that she casually told me one day as I checked my biweekly purchases that she hadn’t actually read the stuff in years. She liked it, liked the people, but didn’t really need to read it anymore.

At times I wonder if I’m slipping into the same condition, the same trap — though involuntarily. I can go for weeks, sometimes, without reading a book, depending on circumstances — some of them personal issues, but mostly due to the demands of doing the website. I still buy books I’d like to read. I get a handful in the mail from publishers each month. I troll the bookstores weekly to see as many others as I can find, of those scheduled. I browse and research them for the (nominally) weekly new books pages, thereby facilitating others to find worthy books to read. But the cost, ironically, is the time I might otherwise read books myself. Is it worth it? Good question. It’s not as if the website is making me rich…

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