In a related question to last week’s–
I was reading the other day a quote from JFK Jr who said on the death of his mother, that she died surrounded by family, friends, and her books. Apparently, Jackie’s books were very much a part of HER, her personality, her sense of self.
Up until recently, people could browse your bookshelves and learn a lot about you–what your interests are, your range of topics, favorite authors, how much you read (or at least buy books).
More and more, though, this is changing. People aren’t buying books so much as borrowing them from the library. Or reading them on their e-readers or computers. There’s nothing PHYSICAL on the shelves to tell strangers in your home, for better or worse, who you ARE.
Do you think this is a good thing? Bad? Discuss!
While I’m intrigued by an e-book reader and the ease and convenience of carrying around an entire library of books in something as light and easy to carry as they are, there’s still part of me that’s old fashioned and wants to have the tactile experience of turning pages and feeling the weight of a book on my hands while reading.
I do think e-readers can help in some ways with covers. For example, when I was in high school I picked up Robert A. Heinlein’s To Sail Beyond the Sunset. At the time, it had a cover that featured his main character, a sexy redheaded female, with her long flowing hair strategically covering certain portions of her. It’s not a book I’d necessarily feel comfortable reading in public with the cover. So an e-book reader could help me to be able to read it or any other book without being judged by the cover as it were.
But I still think there’s a place for physical copies of books–either to display on a shelf as our favorites or just to have because we’ve read and liked them. One thing I’ve said when asked about e-book readers is that books never run out of batteries. And a physical book may more easily fall open to a favorite section, chapter or passage.
As for not owning as many books, I can see that argument. I use my local library a lot. And I don’t apologize for it. I don’t necessarily want to buy every book I want to read. (Also, I couldn’t afford to do that and still eat on a regular basis or have a home in which to have bookshelves to display said books). Also, libraries can keep copies of older books that may go out of print on hand so that future readers can enjoy them.