If your favorite thing to do is curl up with a good book and read the night away, this article is for you. Learn about how ebooks are changing our world and find out if your reading habits will also change.
Do you ever find yourself lovingly holding a leather hardback book, gently cracking it open and breathing in the smell of fresh paper? Do you go into bookstores and feel your heart race as you softly touch the backs of books, wander the quiet isles and read dust covers? Do you have more bookshelves than anyone you know? Then you and I should be best friends.
Those of us that live for a good book and faithfully collect first editions and dusty old books, have been watching the changes in the world of reading. We have seen large and small book stores close and watched the price of books drop on Amazon. We have seen or purchased ereaders and apps on smart phones. We have computers that deliver the same news and information on demand that used to arrive as a newspaper on our front porch. We have watched and wondered what it all means.
The Pew Research Institute reported in their 2011 findings that our ability to get books quickly on ereaders, notepads and phones has actually increased the number of books purchased, as opposed to borrowed. Readers of ebooks read on average 24 books per year. Those who do not use ebooks read an average of 15 books per year.
As a consummate bibliophile or lover of books, I can tell you why those of us who have ebooks read more. Because they are much easier to sneak into work, on the train, into church and even, yes I will admit it, even into the restroom (ick). The truth is that true book lovers can't read enough, and we see every pause in our universe as an opportunity to digest more information, see who killed who and who is in love with who. I am sure there are still a few of you who sneak a peek at the last electric page.
Are ebook users traitors? Does that mean that you shouldn't buy us a book for Christmas? Do we just want an Amazon or itunes gift card from now on? No, we still love to buy books, hold books, touch books and yes, we will still go sit in the Library just for the pleasure of being there.
The Association of American Publishers reported that in 2011, for the first time, ebooks were the year's top purchase. But, that didn't slow book purchases. We spent the same if not a little more in 2011 than we did in 2010. We bought most of what we purchased at "Brick and Morter" book stores. We bought more than a billion dollars worth of books the old fashioned way, by letting the beautiful cover catch our eye, touching them, smelling them and reading the dust cover or back of the paperback book.
In his article Facts about Amazon, Felix Richter reported that when they first sold their Kindle Reader, it was sold out immediately. The newer versions have been their best selling products ever. I began to understand this during a desperate act to entertain a restless child. I downloaded the Kindle App on my phone and instantly had the same version of "T'was the Night Before Christmas," by Clement C. Moore in my hand that I had as a child. It was complete with the same precious art work and look. I was mesmerized. I had loved the book's art as a child and here it was in its entirety. I could swipe my screen and turn the pages just like a book.
I will admit that holding an electronic book, even with the simulated page turning, is not as good as holding the ancient books I have and love. But, I will also say that being able to sit in a restaurant and casually browse and download any title I want to read with my meal is amazing!
As I researched and thought about this article, I opened my lap top, typed a question in google and the world opened up and answered my question, "What date was a press first used to print a book?" I realized that this was a pleasure. As a child, I read and tried to memorize encyclopedias for entertainment. Every month my mother made a hefty payment to ensure we had them. As an adult, my wish is Google's command.
It was only a few short centuries ago that in order to have the bible and other spiritual works man went from hand copying books to printing books. I can hear the conversation now. One Monk says to the other, "This younger generation is so lazy. They don't even want to copy books." The other Monk doesn't respond because he has taken a vow of silence. Later with the mechanical press, the printed word gradually became more affordable, the way calculators and computers did in our life time.
Each change in books throughout history probably initiated the same nervous chatter that we have now. But one truth remains the same, opening a book allows the reader to go anywhere in the world they want, to taste, smell and feel places that never existed. To travel to far away planets and galaxies. Whether the book is printed or computerized the magic remains. However, you will still find me in a library with a smile on my face.
Shannon Symonds, Author of Safe House due to be released July 2017 by Cedar Fort, has 15 years experience working as an Advocate for victims of domestic and sexual violence while raising 6 children in Seaside Oregon. She loves to write, run and Laugh