Digital Books – Saying Goodbye to Paper

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As a junior high school student delivering the Florida Times-Union to customers throughout my neighborhood, it never occurred to me that one day we’d say goodbye to newspapers. But we are, sadly and surely doing just that.

Soon, I suppose, hardback and paperback books will become as rare as papyrus scrolls and possibly just as hard to find.

I grew up on 35 cents-per-gallon gasoline, telegrams, party line telephones, cars you could fix yourselves without hooking them up to computers, and real books. Real books were more than words on paper: they were the paper itself and the type selection and the binding.

Digital books have no binding or paper–it’s all just pixels on a screen–and the tactile sensations of paper choice and weight and type font are going, going, almost gone with the wind.

I resist this, of course, as I must, while simultaneously seeing little point in fighting it. I see the value in it, too, and hope that accessibility and ease of purchase will make up for what we are losing in the transition from paper to screen.

You will have a chance to “pick-up” a few e-books between March 7 and March 13 at a bargain, for this is Read and E-Book Week. My personal preference is books made out of paper; I’ll admit, though, to having a few e-books on my computer. As for Kindle, no, I’m not ready for that, or for reading books on my phone, for Pete’s sake. But sometimes price and convenience trump everything else.

I wonder if anyone employs newspaper boys any more. I suppose I could Google that and find out some day when I’m feeling nostalgic for news left on my driveway by a kid riding a bike. Kids still ride bikes, don’t they?

You can find “The Sun Singer” and other Vanilla Heart Publishing books at Smashwords, a sponsor of Read and E-Book Week.

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6 responses

  1. The demise of newspapers makes me sad and while I know that you are absolutely right about the fate of books, I’m going to park myself in denial for as long as possible. I guess that sooner or later, I’ll give in and e-book it, but probably not until I am left with no other option.

    I still write checks, too.

    • Checks? Oh, no. We went to on-line banking, but still write an occasional check. So far, most of my books are real books and, like you, I’m going to keep it that way as long as possible.

  2. I have always preferred the paper world too, especially with books. Newspapers, I think, were so wasteful for just one reading, while books were stored, shared and inherited. Maybe much of it was our generation, Malcolm, but I think it was a better world.

    • Some people actually traded newspapers around, left them in restaurants and buses, and they were read by multiple people. Otherwise, they worked well for the interior wrapping of mailed packages, wrapped up dishes for moving, and were fine at the bottom of bird cages and hamster cages. See, recycling in action! 🙂

  3. I haven’t yet invested in an ebook reader, instead I use my desktop computer in the office or load an ebook onto my laptop so I can relax in my recliner.

    There are times that the feel of the paper and the book in my hands is overwhelmingly satisfying, but truth be told – ebooks will eventually prove to be my salvation.

    I am a terrible housekeeper (just ask hubby) but the one thing I absolutely have difficulty parting with is a book (I will NOT throw them out, I often donate to the library or pass to a friend). My shelves are overflowing – a whole 1/4 of my family room is lined with bookshelves and I have NO room! My office bookcase AND every available surface also overflow!

    I guess eventually I will have to invest in a 10-inch netbook or something similar (straight ereaders seem so wasteful) for portability. Once in a while I still want a REAL book, especially when it can be signed by the author. And I certainly enjoy seeing my own name on a book binder.

    But I am being taken in by the digital world…

    • The e-books I have are all in a PDF format. More often they’re no fiction, intended for quick reference rather than relaxed reading. I don’t like laptops at all (because of the tiny keyboards and the bad angle for viewing the screen when they sit on a desk), so I do my reading on a desk top PC, and it’s not a very relaxing method. I don’t like throwing away physical books either, but after awhile find places to put them does become a problem.

      Malcolm