Sunday 6 January 2013


I have a friend that spent the better part of Saturday moving heavy boxes of books. His brother in law had passed a while ago and they were dealing with a lifetime love for books. From his description, the house was floor to ceiling books, the kind of place that I could spend days just browsing the shelves. They moved the cartons of books to their place where they will have time to go through them one by one and decide what to do with them individually. You can tell a lot about a person from their reading habits and I am sure my friend and his wife will be in for a real learning experience throughout the winter.

I love books as I have mentioned, but I find the cost to be somewhat prohibitive. That isn’t to say my family won’t have a little problem clearing out the house when I go, but it won’t be anything like my buddies problem. Lately I have started to share my love of paper books with a new found affection for digital books. I have a Kobo reader, an iPad and my phone also doubles as a digital book reader. My favourite is the iPad, but I use the Kobo more often. I have about 230 books on the Kobo, some that I have read before and many that I have yet to read. It is nice to have a choice of what to read on holidays without having to haul around fifty pounds of paper.

If my buddy’s brother in law had his library on digital media they could have put it in a pocket and walked out the door. I know that the feel of a book on your lap and the smell when you open a book whether it be new or old, can be just heavenly, but that is just something that we have come to know and love. In years to come, the feel of soft plastic and the warm glow of the screen will come to have the same meaning. I don’t think that paper books will ever disappear completely, but they will be more of a specialty item I believe.

I have another friend that is a writer and of course she is a lover of books. Hard cover or paperback they all have a place in her heart. She doesn’t believe that digital will ever replace books. How could they? Who would have thought twenty years ago that the encyclopaedias would have stopped publishing in book form? Certainly not me, but I am glad that I was cheap enough not to buy a set of Britannica even though I dearly wanted to have a set. When I bought my first digital camera about ten years ago the guy at Vistek told me that digital was fine for taking pictures at a kid’s party, but no professional would ever switch away from film. Twenty years ago I didn’t think I would need to carry a phone around with me at all times and that I would even contemplate not having a home phone. Times do change.

I will always have books, and if I ever write a book I would want the publisher to mail me the first copy instead of emailing it to me. However, I don’t doubt that books in digital form are here to stay. Perhaps the technology will develop a book whose pages are blank until a card is inserted which will give people the pleasure of page turning and the convenience of digital.

Hmmmm, maybe I just stumbled on a business opportunity. Now, if only I had the technical know how to invent the product. I could probably learn from a book…

1 comment:

  1. My wife Linda still prefers paperbacks over her Kobo reader. Your right Ken as I don't think books in paper form will disappear and may become trendy again just like LP's have once more. B