I can never remember a time I did not read nor a time I did not have a book. Before I could read, I was read to. Books were part of my life then and they continue to be. I wonder today in the age of electronics, are we growing a new generation of readers or is the next generation self-entertaining only with games?
I remember my grandparents reading to me from the same books they had read to my uncle and my father. When I started school the book fair came to our town once a year. It was then that my mom would take me to the school gym set up with books galore and I got to pick out and purchase one new book. Many of those books I had for years. They were a prized possession when I was young and a collection of memories when I grew up. I had those books until I finally gave them to my nieces and nephews many years later.
I have embraced the e-reader. It isn’t the same a print book. Just like a quality hard cover is not like a poorly mass-produced hard cover, nor are either like a paperback book. I have read several books that after reading on the reader, that I have purchased a second tie in print to add to my permanent collection of print books, but for the most part electronic works for me. I have a small collection of print books in my permanent collection. If you are some one who has moved numerous times, you know that the cost of moving is determined by two things cube (how much space you take) and weight. Having moved back and forth across the country three times in seven years my permanent collection was pared down to those books that had a special place in my heart.
If you read in the bathtub, you know the value of a paperback that if dropped is not a catastrophe. Many a book has a bit of a warped page and the smell of bubble bath in my past.
I support authors and the literary arts by reading the same way I have always done it. I check books out of the library . I buy books. I continue to borrow and lend books. The difference is today I do most of it electronically.
To me the e-reader has opened up the possibilities for new writers to get published without being policed by the major publishing houses. It is not to say that they don’t have a place, because I believe they do. I also would say that the large publishing houses have in some cases have prevented things being published as well, so they have been a double edged sword. Today the author who is turned down by one of the big publishing houses had limited to no options in the past, can now self-publish and see what happens. Kind of an wild west, throw your hat into the wind and see what happens kind of environment out there right now.
The thing I wonder most about is do the e-readers help to cultivate and grow a new generation of book readers? Is a new generation of readers being developed or being hindered with the electronic format? I can’t imagine a picture book being the same electronically. Maybe it is and I just don’t get it. I love the places that books take me…the past…the future…places I will never get to travel to…people I will never get to talk to. It was the written word and my imagination making it all happen for me. Books have been a constant companion of mine. Books have taught me much, expanded my horizons and shaped my view of the world. I am thankful to everyone who encouraged my love of books.
Are you a reader? Have your reading habits been impacted by the electronic format? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.