The Death of an Era? Books vs Ebooks

by Reception Chronicles

There is no better feeling than walking into a bookstore or library and taking a deep inhale of the sweet scent of books.  The written word is one of the longest surviving aspects of our civilization and in a way, a book or periodical can be seen as a piece of history.  Over the years, it develops unique character with yellowing pages, dog eared corners, scrawled notes and even a coffee stain or two. It becomes a form of nostalgia for a reader because it represents a memory in your life.  Even when I stumble across an old Dr Seuss book lying around the house, I can sit and reminisce about my childhood.  Any story preserves a time in our histories and it is something we are able to pass down to younger generations.

Over the past few years I have seen a growing trend of books becoming electronic on devices such as Kindles, Nooks and other variations.  I thought it was a clever idea but never caved into buying one.  There is something different about reading a story on a screen and reading it in a paperback book.

I can definitely see it is a convenient tool due to the fact you can store a number of books into one flat screen device and it is easier and lighter to carry with you as opposed to a big, clunky paperback. It gives you access to a dictionary and reference tools and not to mention the ability to download newspapers, best sellers and other periodicals with the touch of a button.  This saves you from waiting until the next day if the book store is closed or a quick alternative than a time consuming drive to pick up a copy.

For a short time, I considered purchasing one of these new electronic book devices yet something stopped me.  When I was younger, I loved going into Borders down the street and picking out a new book to read.  It became part of my weekly routine to lounge in the store for hours trying to decide what to buy.  I attended readings, signings from authors, midnight releases of popular books and many other events.

I returned from college to find that store boarded up and empty which was beyond depressing.  The countless hours I had spent in that store searching through shelves of books was pushed into a premature memory.  All that remains is a shelf of books at my house that I purchased from that store.  All I could think of was those kindles and nooks.  Yes Borders did go out of business for more than one reason but I can imagine a big factor in its closure was its late arrival to ebooks and adapting to an electronic modern world.  All I can think of is how long will it be before other book stores close its doors because of lack of sales and its inability to adapt to technology.

Even though Kindles and Nooks are convenient and progressive, I fear that it will start to slow down a long history of the written word.  It takes away from the social aspect of reading such as sitting in bookstores discussing bestsellers to classics, the excitement of a midnight release to share with like minded people and book signings by prominent authors in local shops.  As much as you enjoy an author, I am pretty sure you don’t want pen marks on the screen of a Kindle.

Maybe I am afraid of change and desperately grasping on to the past? I would enjoy the convenience of a Kindle or Nook and I am constantly being persuaded into purchasing one but the heavy guilt hangs over my head.  The guilt of thinking with this purchase, it is one more step to closing another bookstore.