The library didn’t want it back

With some trepidation, I placed the book on the counter and explained how it came to be in this condition. Our kind local librarian said, “That’s OK, you keep it.” I think she just wanted it out of the library so she could wash the counter with boiling bleach.

There on page 123 was the evidence of my first bout of car sickness. I told my parents I wasn’t feeling well, but they refused to break up the family band for something as piddling as the stomach flu. One page and two blocks into the trip, I yarked on the book, my sister, and the back of the car seat. I haven’t been able to read in a car since, and the little church where we were playing got treated to one accordion, one banjo, one tambourine, and a really foul odor.

This little incident hasn’t dampened my love of books. I think us oldtimers are still sold on the kind of books that you can read in the bathtub without fear of electrocution. Problem is, you’ll need an oxygen tank and a sherpa to reach the top of my to-be-read pile.

Someday, I’d like to live in a house with a library: bookcases stacked to the ceiling, with a little slidy ladder. If you go to a used book store, you may find me in the stacks, huffing old book scent. It ranks somewhere between felt tip pens and fresh baked bread.

I was shocked to learn that my hometown newspaper, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer went out of “print” in 2009 in favor of electronic news. Damn tree huggers! Don’t you know that you’re trading convenience for trees? Those notebooks are not going to do you any good when you need to line your birdcage.

So how can a six inch screen compare to all that? For my birthday, I got a Nook. I’ve started building my electronic library, and to my surprise, I like it. My eyes no longer feel like they’ve been sandblasted, then squirted with lemon juice; I don’t have to wear the purple reading glasses (what was I thinking when I chose those frames?); and I look cool to all my techno friends who don’t realize that it’s the cheapest version they had. It still totally counts.

Best of all, I just discovered that Box of Rocks is now available for Nook at Barnes & Noble, so like a total dweeb, I immediately bought my own book to add to me eLibrary. (cheap plug)

So long as Ikea keeps producing cheap bookshelves, I don’t think we need to worry about the extinction of “real” books, but ebooks are definitely making a strong showing in the market. Too bad they don’t come with a slidy ladder.

9 thoughts on “The library didn’t want it back

  1. I love ebooks and digital audio. If you lose a print book, you have to buy a new one. Digital books are always there in your online library.

    And yes, they’re great for the environment!

  2. eBooks are wonderful and all…..we have a Kindle. However, I will always love shopping for and receiving real, paper books. The feel, the smell. It’s like a “comfort food”, only for the other senses.
    Two things I do love about eReaders: 1) Making the print Big so my old eyes can see without reading glasses or getting a headache, and 2) Being able to download a sampling of a book before you buy.
    Ah progress. It’s inevitable. And not so bad when you really think about it.
    🙂

  3. I never thought I would prefer a Nook to a paper book, but you make a compelling argument for buying one and for not reading in a moving vehicle!

  4. I love e-books now. I love to carry this small tablet around holding so many of my books. No more dusting shelves of books or reorganizing or looking through the house for that one missing book.

  5. I think my brother said that a stack of books are holding up a side of his bed. Like to see him do that with ebooks!

  6. What’s really funny is the tree-huggers have given printed books a new term: “dead tree books”

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