You know what the problem is with e-readers? It takes the fun out of looking for books. OK, perhaps you should stop reading this right now if you don’t find looking for books at least somewhat fun. Yesterday I took a trip to my favorite bookstore for the first time in months. School and work get in the way of what used to be monthly visits there on the weekends. I have walked out of this place with five books after spending only $15. Yesterday the total was $21 for four books, although one of them is a collection of three novels. I never know what I’m going to find when I get there and I don’t really plan on picking up a certain book. Yesterday’s trip was slightly comical because they had several books that I have looked for there before, couldn’t find, and then went to Barnes & Noble or Alibris.com to find. I had been looking for a copy of The Maltese Falcon for months, finally found one at B&N, but ruined it with water before even reading a paragraph. Guess what they had at the store for $5. A seemingly unread copy of The Maltese Falcon.
I love the smell of an old book. I love how the spine is broken in, or if not, the care the previous reader took in trying not to break the spine. I love finding pencil notes or underlined text and wondering what that person was thinking when they did this. I like the mystery involved in what kind of character or characters held this book before my hands got hold of it. You can’t get these from an e-reader. The accessibility and ease in finding e-books is great, but I just can’t get into reading my books off a screen and giving up the act of book shopping and page-turning.
I embraced technology when dealing with music because I have a huge collection and now I can bring it with me anywhere I go, and I can listen to all of it at random at the same time. I still find myself in used music stores and looking at the music every time I’m in a Barnes & Noble, however. I like the sound quality of vinyl or a CD, and I like having a physical collection, but the convenience of having all my music available to me wherever I am is great. With books, though, I only read one, maybe two books at the same time. I don’t buy massive coffee table books to read like novels and I don’t find myself bringing ten books with me when I travel, so I don’t really need the convenience of an e-reader. Plus, when I do travel, I always look for small music and book stores anyway.
At any rate, I think I’ll stick to physical books as long as I can still find them. You can keep your Nook or Kindle, or whatever else. I’ll keep spending a couple bucks extra and letting the books pile up on my shelves. I’ll keep donating my books to stores or sending them overseas when I’m done with them, to make room for others and to let someone else enjoy them, or I’ll keep them to read again later. I’ll keep digging around in boxes or on packed shelves in tiny bookstores or antique shops to see what treasures I can find. I’ll keep listening to that crinkle when I flip the pages, and I’ll keep putting my bookmark between the pages before I go to sleep every night.
Listening to: Van Morrison – And It Stoned Me