The Schmooze

A Week of Jewish Bookends in London

The most striking thing about the opening of Jewish Book Week — London’s biggest book fair — was the relative lack of books. At the opening, on Saturday night, to a packed audience, Simon Sebag-Montefiore led off the presenters with an account of his much feted “Jerusalem, a Biography,” but the smorgasbord of Judaic books that had previously greeted the attendees like a literary bagel spread was notably, and deliberately, thin.

The theme of this year’s event is “bookends,” by which the organizers mean to conjure both an idea of formative books as well as those solid citizens of the bookshelf that provide balance to a row of books. An unfortunate echo of the theme, though, is the “end of books.” And, though the reason for the limited showing of hard copies in the foyer is the increasing ease and thrift of buying books online (Amazon is cheaper after you’ve found a book at JBW), the decreasing number of hard copies is a trend that will continue as Europe follows America, and move increasingly towards eBooks.

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A Week of Jewish Bookends in London

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