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A Greatly Exaggerated Demise

You've read the doom and gloom predictions that books as we know them will soon cease to exist. I'm gonna ask the obvious question here:

I like movies at the theater AND on my TV.

I listen to music on my iPod, car radio, AND my computer.

I read newspapers and magazines online AND in print.

And I think there's PLENTY of room for E-BOOKS AND TREE BOOKS!

(Yes, I'm yelling. This whole "demise of books" thing gets me riled up.)

If you haven't embraced e-books, you WILL because it's awesome to :
-read in bed without disturbing your roommate
-read in a dark car (when you're not driving, please!)
-download at book at midnight when you finish reading another one
-travel for weeks without lugging heavy books
-save trees; books are destroyed when no one buys them
-save money by downloading e-books at a cheaper price
-obtain full texts of obscure, hard-to-find books - in seconds
-find thousands of classics for free through Project Gutenberg
-search for a word or passage easily
-find your place in an instant without keeping up with bookmarks
-change the text size or font or background color
-read in line at the grocery or in traffic - on your handy cell phone
-save your back by not lugging six heavy textbooks through the school halls (hopefully, one day)

But we will NEVER give up PAPER BOOKS because we LOVE:
-the satisfying heft of the solid binding in our hands
-the ambiance of libraries and the smell of books
-the emotional connection to memories of being read to as a child
-the pleasure of browsing favorite books stores and discovering new ones
-the beauty of a well designed cover and the tease of the back cover text
-the company of shelves of our favorites surrounding us in our homes
-turning pages and the sense of closure in nearing the end
-reorganizing them by genres and author's names (embrace nerdiness!)
-finding a "bargain" at a used book store or an extra to share with friends
-the joy of handing a favorite to a friend, the anticipation of his response
-the security of knowing you can read when the battery's dead and the power's out
-the knowledge that we'll still have our books even if B&N, Amazon, and all the others go out of business.

The synergy I've discovered is that I like Kindle for "come and go" books - books I'm reading for information or for examination of literary craft. But if it's an fun read with a fast-moving plot, I need to turn pages. And when an e-book turns out to be a favorite, I always buy want a hard copy for my bookshelf. Each has its value and its rewards and for me, it's always gonna be a 50-50 split. How will your reading habits change . . . or will they?

Posted in March, 2010

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