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Who needs books?

25 Jul

I love to read. I love holding a book in my hands and feeling the thickness of the pages. I get a sense of accomplishment when I feel the left side of the book get thicker. The sound of the pages turning and the smell of the book, whether it be new or old, add even more sensation than just sight or touch.

With the different versions of e-readers out there, though, the need for actual books is becoming more and more moot. And since I work in a bookstore that sells one of these types of e-readers, I’ve heard a lot of different opinions.  People can generally be lumped into one of these 3 categories:

Hardcore Book Fanatics
There are some people who flat-out refuse to read books on an electronic device. Books to them can never be replaced and a book is more sensational than any e-reader out there. (Perhaps the future versions of the nook or Kindle will have sounds of pages turning and even go so far as to extricate a smell of fresh ink on parchment. Older books can smell of mildew and simulate tears in pages.)  Still, the HBFs will always turn up their noses to such things. Paper is the way to go for them, no matter what.

The Minimalist
This group of people is the exact opposite of the HBFs. They, like my boyfriend Fred, want as little stuff around them as possible. The thought of having bookcases filled with books makes them shudder. If there is a way to have all the books they want on one small device, then they are for it. Of course, the more functions the device can do the better. These people are more likely to buy an iPad than just an e-reader.

The In-betweeners
This is the group of book lovers who believe that reading is a wonderful thing to which everyone should have access. They enjoy reading a book but they are not opposed to electronic reading. These people will have both an e-reader and a bookcase or two filled with books. Reading and literature are so important to them that it doesn’t matter the format as long as they’re reading something.

I’ve thought a lot about e-readers ever since I’ve had to start selling them. At first I thought of myself as an HBF but now I see myself as an In-betweener. I like the idea of having fewer books to lug around when I move and of being able to take just one item full of books on vacation rather than 3 or 4 heavy books. But I also enjoy the different sensations an actual book gives. I like going to author events and getting autographs – something you can’t do with an e-reader. However, the e-reader is a good idea for someone like me who is usually in the middle of 4 or 5 books at the same time. If I take my e-reader to work or on a vacation or even while going over to Fred’s, I have the option of which one I want to continue reading. Without the e-reader, I have to take just one (the fewer the books, the lighter the purse).   What if later on I’m not in the mood to read that but one of my other books instead?   In short, I believe that both books and e-readers are good. I may always favor books a little more, but e-readers have a good pull as well.

Now I just have to wait for some birthday money* before I can get my e-reader (from my store, of course).

*It’s in December.  Cash is preferred.

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