Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kindle Vs. REAL Books


(Cartoon copied from Sarita Holzman's blog)

I've never been the least entranced by the idea of downloadable "books." I ADORE the feel, the smell, the heft of real books, especially old books. One of my favorite places in the entire world is a used bookstore, stacked floor to ceiling with slightly-dusty tomes, waiting to be discovered by someone who will cherish them.

I have a good number of books that are over a century old; my oldest book is a Bible Handbook from 1864. I have some 1904 Shakespeare volumes that I still refer to often -- great notes! And I love the weathered green cloth and gold-edged pages. They were such a buy at $12 from Wahrenbrock's bookshop in downtown San Diego nearly twenty years ago. I have my grandmother's copies of Little Men and Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott that are barely holding together and have some definite water damage on the dark brown cloth covers, but I still cherish them. Only one book has been literally read to pieces -- my grandmother's copy of Caddie Woodlawn. I have purchased some older collections, too -- complete works of Robert Browning, Goethe, and Dickens.

Even library books have a certain je nais se quais (I don't know French, so I hope that's spelled right) -- simply the magic of passing a book from one hand to another, even if I don't own them, and especially if they are hardcovers. So I can't imagine EVER curling up with a cup of tea and a digital book reader. Never. Instead, give me a REAL hardcover with crinkly pages and lovely typesetting anyday. Even if it smells like peanut butter from the last person who borrowed it from the library.

2 comments:

Ty said...

I felt much the same way, and to a certain extent still do. However, two things have happened recently to lessen the loathing I have for ebook readers (Kindle in my case).

First, due a genetic based eye problem, my vision was significantly worsened. My Kindle allows me to increase the type font so I can comfortably read many books that are only available in smaller fonts.

Second, in recent years I've had a dramatic increase in travel for my work. The decrease in poundage I have to carry and keep track of has made that travel a lot easier to bear.

Angie said...

I came across your blog after reading Sarita's and just immediately felt a connection with you! Our used bookstore in our town is my absolute favorite place. I walk in and take a deep breath and just feel myself relax. I know I could easily spend hours in there. I always walk away with so many treasures. I love everything about books - reading them, holding them, seeing them on my shelves. It's so fun to meet a fellow lover of books!

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