I popped into one of the main Edinburgh bookstores yesterday for a bit of Christmas shopping but thought I would also check up on their cryptozoological offerings. With a particular focus on looking out for any Loch Ness Monster books, it came as no surprise that there was nothing on display. I include even sceptically minded books in that search.
So while it was a relief not to see the likes of Abominable Science's poor handling of Nessie on offer, I was wondering if the lack of books on offer reflected the public's lack of interest in the subject? After all, the popularity of shows like "Finding Bigfoot" would suggest a keen interest.
The most likely section for Loch Ness Monster and cryptozoological books to be found is strangely the "Spirituality" section of the book store. Ironically, the "Popular Science" section was right beside it (and I checked there in vain for cryptozoologically sceptical books). I would also point out that, being in Scotland, there is also a "Scottish Interest" section. Sadly, that had no Nessie books either.
The "Spirituality" shelves seem to be a catch-all for anything kooky. Alongside the expected titles on astral projection, angels and poltergeists were UFOs and conspiracy theory titles. There were two monster-type books on sale. The first was Jospeh Nigg's "Sea Monsters" which was interesting from a sea serpent point of view but not Nessie. The one title that was Loch Ness Monster related was one previously covered here. That title was "The Loch Ness Monster: And Other Unexplained Mysteries" by J. F. Derry. Strictly this is a book about newspaper stories about Nessie and other mysteries, nevertheless, it is an interesting book.
Of course, people tend to order books online these days and one will find a richer selection of books on the major retailer websites. But if the walk in bookstore is an indicator of what is most popular to the general public, then clearly good old fashioned mysteries are falling short.
As a final comment, the "Popular Science" shelves were about a third bigger than the "Spirituality" shelves. In my younger days, the latter shelves would have been a lot bigger. Doubtless, an indicator of trends, even if Nessie-sceptical books can't get a look in!
I wonder what readers are seeing in their bookstores?