Second hand bookshops have another layer on top of them. The smell, the feel of a worn book in your hands. The name of the last owner written on the first page. Sometimes you are lucky and the last owner might have left something in the book as a reminder of who they were; .an old tram ticket, movie ticket or receipt.
Reading is such a physical act. If the story is good you relax, if there is suspense then you tense up and I have found myself many times rejoicing, laughing and crying at the end of a story. So the environment in which you read matters. Comfortable, cushions, temperature have to be just right.
So what if the world was void of stories and physical books?
This lovely 20 minute movie imagines a future where physical books have disappeared.
I own a Kindle, I love my Kindle (except the DRM part). Since getting my Kindle about a year ago I have never read so much as I do now. The speed at which I can download via Amazon a new book to read is mind blowing. I have found that I struggle with concentrating on a non-fiction read as I like to flip back and forth; check the index, look at the contents, compare chapters. A lot of what I read relates to either my teaching or study so I tend to like to highlight, mark, use post-it references. I have tried doing this in an electronic environment, but for me, it doesn't seem to work! My Kindle was initially bought to read academic papers when I was a the start of my degree and even though the technology worked well, reading academic papers didn't work for me. I still read off hardcopy with a pen, a highlighter, post-its and a good cup of coffee!!
But there is nothing to replace sitting down with a cup of tea and picking up a good book (physical or ebook). I recently rescued some books that we weeded from the library; poetry and short stories. The incidental way in which I came into possession of these books, ones that I might not normally look at, has fuelled another interest and set me off on another reading adventure.
What do you think?
Will bookshops die off?
Will eBooks take over the physical form of books?