It's true that I clung to my love of paper books much longer than most people I know, but then my mom always said I sucked my thumb to an embarrassing age, so at least I'm consistent. I even got into a rather snippy Facebook back-and-forth with a former co-worker (sorry, Mike Johnson, but I doubt you'll be reading this anyway) from my bookseller days over the 'Kindle vs paper book' question. But that was a couple of years ago, and it has gradually become clear to me that paper books now occupy a different and diminished position in the world of publishing.
Which is not to say paper is gone. But still.
I love the Kindle my wonderful partner gave me for a recent birthday. Really love it. As in, I can barely look my paper books in the eye these days. It feels like I'm cheating on the hundreds or thousands of hours of my life spent cradling a book, communing with the words inside it, growing together and never suspecting I'd trade that for some young, shiny thing with a sleek physique and awesome connectivity.
The worst part is how wonderful it is to lie in bed at night without the need for a book light. That part is so new, comfortable and exciting, it racks me with guilt.
And page turning! Of course, that term "page turning" will soon go the way of the automobile equivalent "rolling down the window," as well as the phone equivalents "hanging up" and "dialing." Anyway, there was almost a little tear in my eye the first time I was reading on my Kindle and instead of tapping the screen to advance to the next page, I reflexively reached for the upper right corner to turn the page. So many memories. And I had to stop and wonder how many times in our lives most of us have performed that tiny, reflexive, endangered movement of turning a page. A hundred books of 250 pages results in 25,000 page turns. To reach a million page turns would only require the reading of 4,000 books of that length. So, yeah, a million page turns in a lifetime is doable.
I started this out by joking about being a bibliophile. I wonder if that term will carry over to ebooks? I imagine it will.
What are your thoughts on the changes in how books are published and read? Have you made the transition to digital?
* No trees were harmed in the making of this blog post.