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Ebooks or Paper? I'll Take Both Please.

I read an interesting article this morning. I’d heard about the demise of Borders. But this article in The Telegraph, “Internet and Supermarkets Kill Off 2,000 Bookshops”, shows the tremendous impact that epublishing is having on bookstores internationally. As an ebook author I am excited about the popularity of ebooks. However, as an avid reader it really saddens me to see so many books stores going out of business.

I love reading physical books. Yesterday I was browsing around in the local Goodwill store. These stores are a virtual treasure trove of good books, both paperback and hardcover. Most of them available from .50-$2.00. Then you have the supermarkets and Walmarts with their own book sections. It’s so much fun to go into book stores and spend an afternoon perusing their vast selection. Many of them even serve up a tasty cup of your favorite coffee or tea while you’re reading.

And then, one of my favorites, there are the libraries. There is something so conducive to the enjoyment of literature in the quiet sanctuary of a library. From floor to ceiling, as far as the eye can see, are shelves and shelves of books of every description and genre. Best of all, especially in this economy, these books are yours to take home and enjoy absolutely free. For a limited time, of course.

I enjoy ereading devices as much as the next person. But I have to admit there is something so satisfying about enjoying a book that doesn’t depend on electronics, special lighting, colors or graphics. It’s delightful to sneak away to your favorite spot and immerse yourself in the lives of the characters with no other sound than the faint rustling of the turning pages.

One of the most disheartening thoughts is the implication that future generations of children might never get to enjoy the feel of a good book in hand. Remember when supermarket baggers used to ask paper or plastic? Well the same way with books. I don’t think one should negate the other. It’s all about choice. Don’t you hope that epublishers and traditional publishers can find a way to work together so that readers can continue to have the option of both physical books and ebooks? I’d like to think so.

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