Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hug an e-reader? I doubt it

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." - C.S. Lewis

"I would be the most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves." - Anna Quindlen

Last time I went Dumpster-diving for coupons I came home with a bunch of magazines and I'm slowly working my way through them. Last night I read this and got a sinking feeling:

"The age of the e-book is officially here. It's a parlor game in publishing circles to guess how long it will take for e-books to constitute a majority of books sold in the U.S. New figures show the answer is soon."

MAJORITY? SOON? The article (in the March 21, 2011, issue of Time) went on to say that e-book sales grew 164 percent from 2009 to 2010. I am not opposed to change, progress or technology (hello, blog), but I don't always think technological advances equal progress.

I am strongly in favor of leisurely browsing at friendly bookstores and libraries, of sharing books among friends, of turning down page corners to mark my spot, and of the way those pages smell. I would buy a candle called "New Book."

I like underlining my favorite lines. I like flipping through used books and seeing what previous owners underlined. I like feeling instant kinship based on what I see on someone's bookshelves. Speaking of bookshelves, I love built-in ones, and I think their highest and best use is not displaying knickknacks.

I don't like the trend toward online newspapers and magazines, but I understand it. And I know people don't form an emotional bond with the Sunday paper.

But books? Different story. I remember one time, reading "The Stone Diaries," when one of its sentences struck me as so utterly perfect and right that I literally hugged the book. Could I hug an e-reader? Would I? I hope I never have to find out.

Any book lovers who have made the switch want to try to change my mind?


Amanda said...


One of the websites I do book reviews for, in the last two months alone, has switched almost entirely to e-books. For example, right now there are 25 available e-books for review. There are 13 print books, but 4 are in Spanish so that brings it down to only 9 to choose from. I don't know if I will ever own an e-reader (Never say never) but I am with you. REAL. BOOKS. RULE.

Anonymous said...

Just because the e-book market is growing, that doesn't necessarily mean that fewer paper books are being sold (although it could). It's entirely possible that people are actually reading MORE books overall.

Call me naive, but I don't think books as we know them will be disappearing anytime soon.

Also, I don't mind reading my news online, but I HATE online magazines. Too often, they're clunky and hard to navigate and read.

Sweet Tea Mama said...

This is a great blog topic. I can't say that I've ever hugged a book, but I did get an e-reader a while back and I think there are some advantages & disadvantages.

Advantages: I can use it on the elliptical; portable/travels well; never lose my place; I can get a book on my computer in less than a minute.

Disadvantages: sometimes has a glare; pictures aren't very visible (I have a non-fancy black & white one); has to be charged (I don't mind this); Not sure if I'd use it on a beach b/c of sand and water

Now if I ever get an ipad, I will most likely hug it (alone, in my bedroom, where no one can judge me).

Jessica said...

It's funny because if you think of those that still use film cameras and those that still buy LP's & records it's usually those that just have a special fondness for those things. Perhaps a sense of nostalgia. And sure there are those that will argue til the bitter end that film is hands down better than digital and there is no sound more honest than a record. But to be honest, film and records are out of date, not as convenient and becoming more expensive to own that their successors. However with books I honestly don't see that happening. I can check out free books at a library, get free magazines at the dump, or just pay a few bucks for a book. So why should pay 10-15 bucks for a download? Granted, if history repeats itself in the same manner as film and records in that both are becoming more expensive and harder to find then that will mean books will be the same. I'd honestly hate to see that. There's something so fulfilling out of the tactile motion of turning pages as you progress, dog earing to keep your spot or simply looking at it on your bookshelf.

Any thoughts?

Sweet Tea Mama said...

Actually, a lot of libraries are now 'loaning' out e-books.