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Print Books, E-Books, Print Books, E-Books . . . by Christine Husom

E-books have gained a slight edge over their printed counterparts this past year, but print books are hardly a thing of the past. Not yet, anyway. For many of us who spend a fair amount of time staring at a computer screen, we welcome picking up a physical copy of a book when we sit down or climb into bed at night to read.

In his article, “Why Ebooks Are Inspiring A New Age Of Print,” Andrew Losowsky wrote, “It may sound obvious, but books exist – in a way that memory on a microchip does not. Enduring physical presence is no small thing in an age when information appears on a screen, then changes, evolves, and maybe even disappears. And as efficient as ebook retailers are, clicking to purchase is a fairly soulless affair in comparison to the pleasures of browsing in a bookstore.

For many publishers and booksellers, that feeling of loss has provided an opportunity. Instead of killing physical books, ebooks have actually encouraged a new level of fetishization of the printed page. . . . This might be a generational anomaly, created by those with nostalgia for print and libraries, soon to disappear once the digital natives are in charge. Or this might be the moment where print, freed from its need to do everything, becomes even better at doing what it can do uniquely.”

I’ve been in two small, independent bookstores the past two weeks, Happily, both are doing very well. I loved watching the shoppers and browsers move through the shelves, reading titles, picking up books, turning them over to read the blurbs and the reviews, perhaps opening them to read the first chapter or page. Sometimes making the decision to purchase a book, or five.

My daughter recently gave me a Kobo e-reader she bought at a local independent bookstore. Every book I download through them gives them a portion of the sale, which I like. I have yet to download anything. But as soon as I have an extra minute, I’ll do that. I have to agree with Losowsky, though, physical books attract me in a way e-books can’t. For me, it’s a little like having a picture of someone, then when you finally meet that person, you barely recognize him because you’ve only seen a flat image of him. I’ve gotten caught up in books I’ve read on my computer and appreciated the stories. But to really enjoy the overall experience, I’ll be reading physical books for the most part.

Please give me your thoughts.

Christine Husom is the author of the Winndebago County Mystery Series: Murder in Winnebago County, Buried in Wolf Lake, An Altar by the River, and The Noding Field Mystery

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