Thursday, March 07, 2013

The Relationship with Your Book

I used to love books.  When I was involved in a great story, sometimes even swept away into another time period or country, my book became my friend, and I hated to leave the house without it.  And it was certainly my buddy on a beach vacation. 

My wife bought a Kindle and loved it.  To me it was metal and glass and about as friendless as you could get.  Yet she loved it. 

"Why?"  I asked. 

"It is light, the type is clear, it is thin, and I can carry it anywhere. I don't miss the heavy books of times gone by," she said. 

“Times gone by,” I thought to myself, as I lugged my latest 1,000 page bio.

So I got an iPad and saw the iBook and Kindle apps.  I was on the verge of reading the 1,037 page Gone with the Wind, when I realized I could save at least 5 lbs. in my suitcase weight.  While I would lose a friend—in fact, one that grew closer and closer as the story developed—I would also lose weight!  That was it!  iPad to the rescue! 

Now look what I find.  The number of people cozying up to a good e-book is on the rise. According to the Pew Internet Research Center, during the past year the number of Americans age 16 and older, reading e-books,  has risen from 16 to 23 percent, while those who read printed books among the same age group fell from 72 percent to 67 percent. And e-book readership is increasing as ownership of e-book reading devices is growing (18% in 2011 to 33% by the end of '12).So I guess there is nothing unusual about my coming of age and learning to like different digital kinds of friends.  I’ve also learned that technology is not always hard and cold.  But every once in a while I miss “licking my finger to turn a stubborn paper page.”  Or I look up at our bookshelves with all the colorful books and jackets and wonder what will be there in 50 years’ time.  

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