London Bookstores Go Rogue As No WiFi Zones
Remember the days before mobile phones constantly went ping and ring? Or when you had to actually look up the answer to a question in a book and not Google it? Or when folk would walk with their head up straight and not hunched over a screen or tilted to one side to clamp their phone between their ear and shoulder?
If you have a nostalgia for such times, then you’re in good company with a group of British bookstores rebelling against the recent trend for barista-made coffee and high speed internet connection and instead returning to the centuries-old tradition of disconnected book browsing. And guess what? They’re fast becoming some of London’s hottest hangouts.
As one bookstore owner explains in this article on nytimes.com ‘The internet can cause so much stress; we want people to come in and be more focused than they are online. We’ve got a record player, we’re small and intimate. People respond really well to that. I think it’s necessary in today’s cultural climate. And because we’re in the centre of London, we offer creative downtime in the heart of the city.’
In bookstores, the sanctuary from internet connectivity allows for quiet contemplation, personal reflection and book browsing but there is another sector of the market for whom WiFi-free zones are used to encourage connectivity to one another. As this article shows there is a growing trend among café owners to disconnect their WiFi and even ban laptops and devices from their establishments in order to return to good old-fashioned chit-chat.
We’ve written before about the benefits of digital detox and finding or creating a space away from digital distraction whether to better engage with those around you, or to pursue a personal activity with focus. Maybe your local bookstore or café could provide the ‘no WiFi zone’ you’re looking for.
Now, if they could just include a little patch of grass or mat for Earthing while reading and having coffee, it would be our idea of heaven!