We’re talking e-readers this week, any and all kinds. I have to admit when I was young and saw the people on Star Trek with access to entire libraries on small, flat devices, I thought it was purely science fiction, never possible, but no more; it is reality.
And, like one old fellow in an episode of the original Star Trek, I prefer my books in-hand. There is something so lasting and personal in a real book, especially an old book, which was meant to last.
I remember being fascinated as a kid in elementary school by handmade books. When we were told to illustrate a report on the Middle Ages, I drew a monk copying a manuscript.(And if any monk looked like the one I managed to mangle, it was just as well he put his hand to work, head to prayer and kept out of the gene pool!)
I loved my books when I was a kid and held on to all of them, but most were lost when family moved state-to-state and were left in storage. I could weep. I even made a couple of books of my own as a child; I impressed my teachers.
I spoke last week of how I pictured book shops and how my home resembles one that I had pictured in my head. I haven’t counted the books here, but they number in the thousands,(rough estimate is more than 3,000)\;we have books on nearly every subject. My husband admitted that we may need to thin some out, but don’t expect more than a minor percentage to go. I wish I could be sure those who would appreciate the books will have them after we are gone. I guess I should be looking for homes for them now.
I would never scan them into an ereader, even if I could.
I love libraries; I basically have my own but I am still at our local branch a great deal. I can’t imagine not having libraries to attend, to browse through. The cold computer just doesn’t arouse the same feelings as wandering the shelves, perusing the tomes, picking out a few pages to size up the story, seeing the illustrations up close. Looking at the excerpts online just doesn’t have the same effect, BUT….
I have to admit that through the computer and Internet I have access to so many more writers, including the Hound and the Foxes here. I would never have known them and so many others, nor could I find all of their works in local libraries or bookshops. And I would not be able to indulge in buying as many books by as many authors as I have, (mostly via Amazon), and have them right here on my computer.
Yes, I am behind the times as usual, but I do have a Kindle for PC.I am about to move to as basic an ereader as I can find for the books I have, (and the more to come, I am sure). I just don’t get the time to sit at the computer for as long as I’d like to get through all the reading that I could do elsewhere, and I can carry so many stories in my purse when I do get a device. I am looking forward to that, BUT…
I am still so thrilled when pick up a new book, whether or not it is actually new. I LOVE autographed copies of books, and of getting books autographed from a few favorite authors or even from friends and family members who write; wish there was some way to personalize an ebook.
I worry that the electronic books are not going to last, although paperbacks books disintegrate far too quickly and the hardbound ones are not made like the old ones, plus many have slipped into obscurity when they have gone out-of-print, so I guess there are two sides to that argument. Still, will the electronic works survive somewhere?
Am I concerned with piracy? Somewhat. I admit to buying used books; I have no problem with that when they are out-of-print or when only cheap copies are available, especially if they are classics, far removed from paying the authors royalties.
I wish I could afford all new copies of new books, for the writers’ sakes, though I try to as often as possible. I can do so with ebooks, but Scott Turow, President of the Authors’ Guild, points out that Amazon is pushing to be able to resell ebooks. The royalties from many ebooks are incredibly low; reselling them with no gain for the authors is going to be catastrophic…if no one is getting paid, or getting paid enough, there will be next to no more books available to sell; it won’t be worth a writer’s time, so he assumes. He may have a point. He also worries about libraries making all writings universally freely available online. Will that be a problem? I don’t know.
Take a few minutes; this is very interesting,( and if you are a writer, you should be on guard):Scott Turow on Book TV
That said, though, I am looking forward to having ereader in hand, reading away anywhere and everywhere, catching up with works of friends.I try to catch some quick pages while my hands are otherwise occupied and real books close on me, or (horrors!), I get the pages dirty trying to turn them. Yet I know my next visit to the library will not only result in my borrowing books, but more than likely buying some discards.The hardbound and paperbacks are a big part of my world…But
I’m ready for my Star Trek ‘volumes’…what next? A Dick Tracy Two-Way Wrist radio? My cell phone is pretty close already!