Books: Then & Now

“A good book is the best of friends. The same today and forever” – Martin Tupper

I couldn’t agree more with this quote. However, there’s an important distinction Mr. Tupper would have failed to even be aware of during his life in 19th century England. While I agree that a good book remains the same today and forever, I think it would have been more accurate for Tupper to say plot or story. Because, as we’ve seen in the past few years, the book’s form and format is rapidly changing.

Today I decided to describe one particular way I’m learning to live outside the line. “According to the Association of American Publishers, 2009 e-book sales (in a year when plain old book sales ebbed 1.8 percent) increased 176.6 percent over 2008, to $169.5 million. E-sales rocketed to $117.8 million through April of this year, at an annual rate double 2009’s. Americans now own an estimated 2.8 million e-readers – not counting computers, still the most common kind. At fewer than 3 percent of all books sold, e-books are still a small corner of the publishing market. But such rapid growth suggests that a new age of reading has begun” (Timpane).

I can attest to this popularity, and I’m proud to be a member of the growing e-book community. Even if this does put me in a minority group that’s largely made up of “those older than 40” (Timpane). However, I can relate to the mass market’s trepidation. Originally, I was very hesitant to adopt the e-book format. My mom gave me a Barnes & Noble Nook as a Christmas gift last year.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive this gift. I hadn’t specifically asked for an e-reader, but as usual my Mom knew me better than I did. I think most of my hesitancy has to do with my aversion to change. But my mom pushed me outside of the lines and I’m grateful for that.

To aid in your understanding I’ve compiled a list of reasons I love my Nook followed by the reasons I will never completely convert to electronic reading only.

A step in the right direction…outside the line J

Reasons I’m a Book Progressive

1)      Lightweight and extremely portable. One of my favorite things about the Nook is the ease with which I can bring it with me. Whether I’m tossing it in my purse for a road trip home or bringing it along on an airplane ride, it saves me the unnecessary weight of lugging around a few books.

2)      I can download books I see in the online catalog and have them in seconds. As someone who is not very patient by nature, I really appreciate the very quick download speed.

3)      The Nook is a space saver. I have at least three full bookshelves overflowing with books dating back to infancy. As much as I love the visual reminder of my passion for reading, It’s difficult to continually find new places to put new books. The nook comes with 2GB, that’s enough for approximately 1500 eBooks. I can also get a very inexpensive microSD card with the potential to store up to 17,500!

4)      Money saved. As I’ve already mentioned, my Nook was a gift so I didn’t have to pay the $149 for it up-front. But even if I had(and  I encourage potential buyers to consider this) I am ultimately saving money because ebook downloads are significantly cheaper than the paper version. For example, new titles are normally priced between $18-$20 at a bookstore, while the ereader version will be between $10-$15.

Reason’s I’m a Book Traditionalist

1)      I will use and every excuse at my disposal to visit libraries and/or bookstores. There has been more than one occasion when I’ve lost track of hours simply wandering the shelves of books at the local library or bookstore. I love the sense of history and peace that comes from being surrounded by books. Growing up one of my favorite Disney movies was Beauty & The Beast. And without a doubt, my favorite scene was when the beast shows Belle the forbidden wing which contains the library.

I remember marveling at the humongous room with rows upon rows of beautiful books and large French windows to allow the perfect amount of sunlight for reading and thinking to myself, “Someday, I want a room just like that.”

2)      As much as I appreciate the sleekness and portability of my Nook, the sight, smell, and touch of a real book is impossible to replace. And sometimes I need original.

3)      I love tradition and I’m a big believer in keeping tradition alive. Whether that means making lefse (a Norwegian pastry passed down to me by mom) during the holidays, or kicking it old-school and reading a paperback version.

What I’ve come to realize is that I can have the best of both worlds. Using the Nook doesn’t negate the original book. I can enjoy both; or in other words, I can have my book and read it too!

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