The existence of Terban Road at Yogyakarta in the Middle of Modern Age
If you are in the city of Jogja, go to a road called turban, there you will find a row of small stalls, these stalls selling used books which are often visited by students and also bookworms. Hundreds of types of books are available in these small stalls, you want to find old books that are not published anymore? Just mention the title and author, the shopkeeper will find it for you. This road becomes like an oasis for bookworms in the middle of the wilderness of the digital era.
In the era of the industrial revolution 4.0, it seems that some people are still looking for used books. Everyone has their reasons, lower prices, books that are not published anymore and are nowhere to be found, rare books to collect.
When viewed from the perspective of the modern world, used books will be seen as strange, impractical, with outdated information. Information should be the main reason a person buys a book. Generally, we want the newest information, like a newspaper in the evening, who wants to buy it? Besides, used books of course have papers that already turn yellowish and rough, it is good enough if not torn.
If we compare it to the new book from bookstores, call it the Andi Publisher, Gramedia, Mizan, Togamas, and other big bookstores, of course, it is very different. The newly published books use high-quality paper designed to be durable, even to the point of being coated with plastic to increase their durability and readability. Besides that, digitalization also changes the shape of the book, now we can hold the library in hand.
With your smartphone, you can save thousands of book titles. For readers who are mobile and like convenience, of course, this type of digital book makes it easy for them. Simply by opening the play store or apple books application, selecting the books you want to buy, and making online payment transactions. You no longer need to leave the house to go buy books.
However, the used bookstalls on the terban road have their magic, the sound of paper scraping, the smell of old books that turned yellowish by time seems to have a role for customers to visit. These books may be had owned by several owners that may never have known and met each other. So, this book seems to be a silent witness to the life story of its owners.
Often we find scratches, scribbles, and sketches on used books. These scribbles tell the history of the owners of these used books. Through these scribbles, there is a relationship between generations, the first owners leaving scratches which are then read by the next owners. These scribbles are of course not all meaningful and are meant to be read by others. But after all these scribbles are proof that this book was once owned and read by someone. Also, these scribbles can sometimes help the reader understand the contents of the book, based on the understanding of the previous owners.
This reminds me of J.K Rowling’s novel Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It is told that Harry found a used book to make potions the book was once owned by Professor Snape. Even though the book was in bad condition, the seams were already damaged, the paper was ripped a lot, and it was full of scribbles. The book is still kept and used by Harry. It seems that the scribbles in the book helped him to take potion-making lessons.
This intermezzo can give us a view that used books sometimes have a value that new books don’t have. The life experiences of the owners and the scribbles will add value to it. So, it is not surprising that the existence of used bookstalls can survive, amidst the onslaught of large bookstores with various facilities through technology offered, while the printing and publishing industries offer a physical quality that can be seen and touched, small stalls offer something intangible, namely; historical and sentimental values that, although not seen, but can be felt and appreciated by its owners.