Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Paper Books VS Electronic Devices

I'm all for technological advancements and admit that some gadgets seem very appealing.  I get that the Kindle or Nook for example take reading to another level in the way that you can take it where ever you go.  However, I'm sad and afraid of what this will eventually mean for the actual paper books that we all so dearly love. 

I am a lover of books, even if I haven't read all of them, I like to have them around me.  Something about the way they feel in my hands, look, and even smell brings me peace.  I could literally pitch a tent inside a bookstore and be happy to reside in it. 

I had the opportunity to work for a small bookstore on the coast of Oregon several years back.  All I did was stock the shelves and make sure everything was in order.  It was a new and used bookstore.  When people brought in books I was the one who filed them away in the appropriate section.  I adored that job.  I made pennies and it was time consuming but something about being in a world of books for hours at a time was overwhelmingly calming.  I would smell like books when I left, a fragrance I feel should be marketed. 

Kidding aside, books are magical and important. 

I have fond memories as a child holding those books that I loved, one being The Frog and The Toad series.  Rich text and original artwork.  Again, I found them comforting.  It's rare for me to leave my house with out a book in my purse.  Most of the time I don't have the time to actually read it, but just knowing it's there gives me a feel of satisfaction.  Just like having a notebook and pen available with me at all times. 

My point to this post is this.  If Kindle and Nook are so popular, overselling actual paper book sells, what will come of all our beloved books and does this mean that for me, as an aspiring novelist, that it's a possibility that I may never see my words in paper book form?  Will they only go to computer land, never giving those readers the opportunity to feel and smell my words in addition to reading them? Also, what will come of book stores and libraries?

Chef's say that before you eat a meal, you see and smell it, meaning that presentation is just as important as the actual meal itself.  That's how I feel about books.  The act of perusing a bookstore, a cover catches your eye, you pick it up, flip through the pages, the font, the cover art, the blurb on the back cover.  All of this is in essence seeing and smelling the book before you actually eat it.  All important and enjoyable parts of reading.  

The thought or prospect that this will cease is extremely sad to me.  So if you're wondering if I own a reading device of my own, the answer is no.  I thought I wanted one and hinted to my husband, but after realizing what it would rob me of, I went back to my husband and told him I would much rather have a gift certificate to a bookstore.    

Reading, regardless of how you go about it, is an important part of gaining education and molding yourself as a human.  I just hope that the world of paper books never ceases to exist and that book stores, both new and used, thrive forever so that my children won't miss out on the entire meal.


  1. Lydia,
    I have to agree about enjoying a good old-fashioned book. There's nothing better, but I do think the world of the novel is changing. It's funny because I blogged about this a few days ago.

    I also think that because there are still so many of us who want to feel the real thing in our hands, I can't imagine all of the paper and ink versions will disappear completely. At least I hope they won't.

  2. I love my Kindle, but to me it is just an easier way to carry around all the books I am reading at once. I can slip my entire reading list into my purse this way!

    I sometimes test new books on it and find myself purchasing the 'real' book just to have it, and to get the best reading experience from it by reading it again on real paper.

    Nothing will replace my books for me; their smell and weight and the easy way I can flip back through read pages and find a passage I forgot or relive something I love.

  3. Melisa,

    Thank you so much for your comment. I do understand the appeal of having your entire "reading list" in your purse at once. That is very cool.


  4. Koreen,

    Thank you for your comment and your link. I enjoyed your post a great deal! Happy reading!