Shane Suvikapakornkul had always been involved in the world of publishing. As the owner of the bookstore Hardcover at Open House at Central Embassy, which specialises in art and design publications, Shane understands what it’s like to curate books that are personal to one’s interest. “At home I keep the books that I like. It’s like building a library—you keep whatever you relate to and what you’re interested in. Books are very personal. You build a relationship with the content and you become sentimental about certain books. I don’t build a collection of rare editions for their value; rather a collection of what touches me. Sometimes I also buy hardback copies when there’s a book that I really like or when the cover has a good design,” he says.
While he doesn’t judge a book by its cover, Shane realises the importance of visual aesthetics. “Good covers also summarise the content in one visual component.” Other than history-related books, having written for Monocle and The Magazine, Shane enjoys the travel writings of the likes of Bruce Chatwin.
Like many who are passionate about books, Shane is a person who feels strongly for print. “I still prefer the traditional way of reading, as the eyes get very tired reading on screen. However, it’s useful when I want to quickly look up something or when I want to scan through a newly released book before buying the actual hard copy.” When asked about the debate over the death of print, Shane stands firm in his belief. “People are always saying that print is dying and I don’t understand why. Books have been around for thousands of years. Book selling is one of the oldest professions in the world. Unless there’s something that can replace the convenience of this medium, which you can pick up and read anytime without the need for electricity, I think books are here to stay.
"It’s a way of communication and it’s a logical way of transferring knowledge. To write good books, you have to create a narrative between the images in your head and the story you want to tell. The easiest way to do that is to put it on paper and lay it out in print. Digital publications can be very distracting as everything’s all over the place and the readers have to pick up the pieces themselves. Of course, e-books are convenient and good for access to basic information, but to make people intellectually grasp what you’re trying to convey, printed books are a much better media.”