Monday, July 2, 2012

Wait! Am I reading an ebook or a bound book?!

Crack open a new book; feel the spine crunch as its insides fan apart, its outside backbends for the first time.  Inhale fresh, crisp unread pages.  Hold a treasure that promises to whisk you to another space.  Heaven.

From my first book read at age three to more than half of my thirties that was how I experienced a book - save the "new" part as while my home overflows with bound books, I've also checked out thousands of cherished-by-many books from libraries across the country.

Enter the last year, a Kindle app for my laptop, and my new friend, Droid - the smartphone that never seems to leave my side now - with its own Kindle app to read by.  And the ebooks that I never thought I'd be interested in have wriggled their way not only into my library, but the very manner in which I read.

I realized this last bit late last night while reading my newest bound book, Bloodline, and I actually pressed my finger on a word on the page.  I mean really pressed it!  Why?  I didn't know what the word meant and was looking for the instant dictionary lookup that's ever so convienent when reading an ebook.  Yes, it was quite late, but it struck me how automatic of a response it was to an unknown word.

And in an instant I was torn between my old, ever constant love of traditional bound, paper pages in hand books and the new fancy schmancy, take with you wherever you go, easy to look up a word and continue reading ebooks.  Not only was I torn, but I felt like I was cheating....on both of them!

Ink stained fingers from newsprinted papers were cast aside as clandestine affairs with news aggregates across the interwebs ensued.  Multi-volume back breaking encyclopedias were left to dusty corners of a library as I embraced Google, who I would gladly smooch every single day.  Dictionaries disappeared off shelves and shattering, though predictable, news broke that the Oxford English dictionary would no longer be printed.

Admittedly, I don't think I've cracked open a paper bound dictionary in about fifteen years.  But, in the late hour my eyes were travelling along James Rollins' words on the pages of my printed edition of his latest Sigma thriller, I suddenly became all too aware of just how differently I access information today.

What about you?  Are you waving your arms in welcome, rolling out the red carpet for the next newest way to access information?  Or do you wave your arms wildly, sending the newest tech down the road?

I hope my world holds both.  I hope I'm inviting it in with arms wide and yet choosing to cherrish the trinkets of yesterday that I wish to never loose interest in; like my long standing bound book love affair.  May there always be rooms full of beloved bound books waiting to be read, thumbed through, and passed on to the next generation to get lost in.

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Affiliate links are used, though this post is not sponsored or solicited.  It's an honest response in reaction to finding myself trying to push tech onto my newly purchased old school paper bound book last night.


  1. I do miss the smell and feel of bound books...but I honestly feel better about utilizing e-readers because I don't have so many books taking up space - which is something I have a love-hate relationship with. I love the look of a full book shelf but hate being overwhelmed by clutter... I also like to think I am sparing trees utilizing e-readers but I don't know the full environmental impact of more electronics either....

  2. I too am taken by both. I still have shelves full of all my old favorite printed novels, paperback and hardcover. I can't get rid of them. And I hope someday I can hand one to my son and tell him I'd think he'd like it because it's one of my favorites.
    On the other hand, the convenience of a Kindle is a beautiful thing. And from here on out it will be Kindle purchases, not bound books. But my problem is time. I can't seem to find time to open the darn Kindle this summer!

  3. I have a Sony e-reader but I buy so few books for it. I still do the dead-tree purchases where possible. The reason: You never own the e-book. A physical, dead-tree book is tangible, something you can leave your posterity upon your exit from this world...or not depending on how you feel about your books and/or your posterity. The e-book? You only purchase a limited license when you purchase an e-book.

  4. I still haven't gotten into e-readers, but I know it's only a matter of time. I love the feel of a real book in my hands, and I don't think I'll ever lose that, but I can't deny the convenience of a whole library inside a little glowing rectangle.

    The main thing that's held me back is that you can't really share your books with friends when they're electronic. You can't stamp "From The Library Of" inside the cover of a beloved favorite and lend it to someone who you're sure will enjoy it as much as you did. That's a magic I'll miss when books become completely digital.


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