You know — the old fashioned printed kind.
A while back, while reading through the previous night’s incoming Twitter tweets, I came upon a tweet by Miraz, my co-author on our WordPress 2 book, that linked to a blog post titled “I hate books.” I clicked the link to check it out. In the post, Miraz outlined what she hates about printed books and her frustrations about not being able to buy certain books as ebooks or MP3s.
At the risk of being stoned to death by the rest of you folks, I’m rather old fashioned and like traditional paper books. There’s something about a book that I find appealing. Maybe it’s the feel of the cover and pages, the ability to easily flip back and forth, the use of scrap paper or postcards as bookmarks.
When I read, my brain somehow records where on the page I read something interesting, so I can later flip back through the pages with the thought “lower left page” and zero in on the text I’m looking for.
I have beautiful illustrated editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and wouldn’t give them up for anything — I’ve read each of them at least twice now (and their cheap paperback predecessors three times).
There’s always at least one book beside my bed, one under the seat in my helicopter, one in my camper, and one in our vacation cabin. My office is lined with bookshelves holding the books I need to consult to get my writing or computer or aviation work done. I simply get out of my chair, pull down a book, consult its index or TOC, and find the content I need. I also have an entire shelf unit dedicated to the books I’ve written; it gives me pleasure to look at it once in a while and remember that all those words came out of me.
And let’s face it: real books don’t need batteries or a special device — that could break when dropped — to operate.
When I’m finished with my books, I donate them to my local library, so they live on and on for others to enjoy. Since I tend to have more liberal reading tastes than the folks who buy for the library, I help round out their collections. Lately, I’ve been selling them on Amazon.com, just to generate some cash to help support my book-buying habit. I very rarely throw a book away — or recycle it as paper.
I’ve tried to cut back on my book buying, but can’t always turn down a good book I want to read.
I should mention here that I do carry ebook editions of several classics in my Palm Treo smartphone. After all, I can’t carry a paper book everywhere I go and I absolutely hate being stuck somewhere without something to do or read. I’ve recently read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Swiss Family Robinson, and Doctor Dolittle on my Treo and am currently working through The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (again).
But when I sit down to read, I want to read words printed on paper. I guess I’m just old fashioned. Or maybe I’m just not satisfied with the ebook solutions that have come out of publishers and device makers.
What do you think?