The fact that there is even a minute reason for me writing this post makes me want to cry.
I resist technology. I can’t help it.
In my household, there are three cell phones….none of which belong to me. There is one iPod and it’s 4 years old and never used. There is a laptop which I am glued to most of the time, but there is also still an older PC in my daughter’s room.
And there are no eReaders. There are books.
Gobs of them actually.
But I’m as tempted as everyone else by shiny new toys. I ogle the Nook when I go to the bookstore and I’ve fondled a Kindle or two. But one thing keeps me from giving in:
- I don’t ever want there to be a day when the printed book is obsolete.
I can tell you page, paragraph and line of my favorite quotes in books. And if I can’t remember it?
I just thumb through and find it. Novel idea, huh?
But I’m sentimental about books. I want to save them all. A used bookstore to me is like a pound full of wailing puppies to a dog lover. They just need a home. If I was Oprah I’d buy every last unwanted book and put them in safe hands.
I never want libraries to be like museums. I never want my great-grandchildren to look at my shelves and shelves of books and say, “What’s that?”
But then again….I’m sure my dad felt the same way when the 8-track replaced his vinyl records. Then came the compact cassette. Then the CD. And now the MP3.
And yes….it’s easier to carry around a pocket-sized piece of technology that houses a million songs with unparalleled sound quality but what about the sweet sound of a vinyl record? When I hear that sound something stirs inside me. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but regardless….there is admiration.
The same holds true for the printed book.
There is something irreplaceable about the smell of an old book. The sound of a cracking spine when you open it. The sight of a collection proudly displayed in your home. The thought that some day your grand-children might take your books and read them.
But then again…they might just toss them in the trash because they are nothing more than inconvenient clods of paper and ink.
EReaders allow the ability to download thousands of books in one place. One author of a post I read said, “It’s so convenient. Now I don’t have to carry a dozen romance novels around in my purse every day.”
Why anyone would carry a dozen books of any sort around on a daily basis is beyond me. Unless you’re a research student or a rocket scientist I don’t think that’s the norm.
But….I can see the appeal. It just hasn’t sunk it’s teeth into me yet mainly because I am witnessing the closing of bookstore after bookstore. My favorite two-story store in Nashville which was 30 years old is now a piece of history and I’ve heard my friends cry about their favorite Borders shutting it’s doors.
I realize EBooks and EReaders are not the sole cause of the decline of the bookstore. The economy and poor management most likely top the list of causes for the fall, but technology has and most definitely will continue to impact their success. Whether the shift will be subtle or seismic remains to be seen.
For now…I will buy my books at the bookstore and continue adding to my collection.
My resistance may seem futile but so is the fact that I no longer buy paper towels or use plastic bags from the grocery store. I’m just one little person and I know my impact is small, but at least I’m trying, right?
I spend most of my days glued to a computer screen. The last thing I want to do at night is curl up with yet another screen. I want to feel the book in my hands. Turn the pages myself. And maybe I’m the minority but that’s okay. I’m a bit of a rebel anyway 😉
What about you? Do you ever worry about the future of the printed book? Bookstores? Can there be a happy co-existence between eBooks/Internet Purchases and Printed Books/Bookstore Purchases?