As a proprietor of books and a collector of records, we’ve noticed quite a few similarities between these two pursuits. Here are five which comes to mind:
#1: Book Browsing / Crate Digging
One of the greatest joys for book-lovers is to browse books on fully stocked shelves; and finding a hidden gem which immediately sparks interest. This experience is the same for record collectors – where ‘crate digging’ becomes a treasure hunt for that rare record, or that last record to complete a collection of albums from a particular artist. Since ‘pressings’ of records are often limited, especially for less main-stream artists, it’s not always easy to find the record you’re after. There is also immense joy in discovering a completely new artist or album from sampling records – this is similar to discovering that book which ends up becoming one of your favourites.
#2: Going ‘Analog’
Both reading and music listening has evolved, and can be done electronically – often sacrificing experience for convenience. With a Kindle, you have millions of books at your fingertips and similarity, you can listen to an endless stream of music with Spotify. However, much of the joy described above is lost; no longer are you finding great books by chance, you are finding them with the help of Amazon’s calculated algorithms. Similarly, listening to music anytime, anywhere decreases the value of each track. Albums are no longer viewed as a complete works of art, but rather as assortment of songs for us to cherry-pick; the bigger picture is lost. By going analog, we restore the accompanying experiences which add value to works of music or literature.
#3: Setting up is an experience
Many book lovers have rituals prior to reading, such as preparing a warm cup of tea and cozy-ing up on the sofa or arm-chair. For ‘vinylphiles’, the ritual starts with picking a record fitting of the mood, removing it from its cover, setting the vinyl on the record player, dusting it and cleaning the stylus (the ‘needle’ used to play music). All of this has to be done with care, to not risk damaging the collector’s most prized possessions. The act itself is therapeutic, and after a long day, is immensely satisfying and brings great relief.
#4: Quiet time
Following ‘the ritual’ is a dedicated period of time to enjoy ourselves. The world around becomes quiet, and we are left with our thoughts and the book / music at hand.
#5: Endless and timeless
The act of collecting is endless. There is always the next book, or the next record for us to discover. There’s excitement in watching a shelf fill up over time. Not everything which goes on the shelf carries equal value, as there will be some you enjoy more than others. That doesn’t matter though, because everything is part of your collection and makes up your individuality. As long as your interest doesn’t wane, the journey will continue. Imagine buying and enjoying a record today, then revisiting it 10 years later. You’ll be immediately transported back to your past self, on your cozy sofa, wine glass in hand, floating to the tunes of your favourite song.