Thursday, February 24, 2011

I want my paperback, paperback, paperback books!

I love technology...most days. Sometimes I get overloaded with information but then again sometimes I'd love an iPhone to Google every question that comes to mind. Every day I love being able to blog, read blogs and check my email. But recently I've been frustrated with technology because of it's effect on one of my favorite things/places...bookstores. If you watch the news and don't completely live under a rock, you may have heard about Borders filing for bankruptcy and yesterday the Wall Street Journal had an article about Barnes and Noble's profits falling 25%. With the introduction of the Kindle, iPad and, Barnes and Noble's attempt not to completely fail, the NookColor, as well as the ability to purchase books online thanks to Amazon, bookstores are quickly becoming a thing of the past. It's funny to think that about 15 years ago, big box bookstores like Borders and Barnes and Noble were on the rise threatening mom and pop bookshops and now technology is king.

                                                      Reading in the National Garden
I know there are many benefits to being able to carry every single book in one device, bookmarking points and typing notes in the margins. It creates less waste, though I personally have kept every book I've ever purchased and actually purchase books instead of using the library. I, however, love perusing a bookstore, judging books by their covers. I love the smell of books, the feel of turning pages and feeling the end draw near based on transfer of pages from front to back. I don't like to think that someday I may be expected to read all my books online. I would like to think that books will never become completely obsolete, and that maybe I'm just old-fashioned in my young age. Technology, of course, has brought us many great things such as the Internet, news and information at our finger tips and the ability to work from virtually anywhere. But there's something beautiful about books! I've always dreamed of having a room in my future home where all the books I collect over the years line the walls. While in DC, I visited the Library of Congress, which after a fire, was sourced by Thomas Jefferson's personal collection of books. He had thousands of books on virtually every subject and in many languages. After hearing about the failing of current bookstores, there was also a news story yesterday about Thomas Jefferson's books. While there is currently a display of his remaining collection in the Library of Congress, more of his collection was discovered at Washington University in St. Louis. Read about it here!

                                            Books stacked side by side floor to ceiling...beautiful sight!

All in all, technology is great and so is moving forward. I don't want to be a hermit and completely out of touch with the world. However, I hope that it doesn't threaten to change one of my favorite pastimes. I've been reading books, well devouring books, since I was a child and I don't like the fact that the way I will access them is changing. Somehow discovering someone famous' Kindle 200 years from now doesn't quite hold the same charm and mystery that discovering an old book collection does. I'm sure that there will always be bookstores, though not in the beauty and splendor that we have seen in the past few years.  

How do you feel about books? Are you happy reading them on electronic devices or are you like me?

Words of Wisdom: "I cannot live without books" - Thomas Jefferson

"I know every book of mine by its smell, and I have but to put my nose between the pages to be reminded of all sorts of things." -George Robert Gissing

1 comment:

Brandon said...

I completely agree Simone. There is something about the printed word - notice I said "printed" - in a book that is bound that is special. Turning the pages, knowing how far you've progressed in the book visually, the sounds of pages being flipped and a book being closed...none of that can be replicated.

The most sad day will come if physical copies of books are no longer published and publication equates to e-books.

- Brandon