I read an article in the Wall Street Journal today that reported the growth rate for e-book sales is diminishing.
It seems that people just like physical books, dang it!
Me, too! I like physical books. I have two problems, though:
Where in my home do I put all these wondrous titles? Stuff them in a closet? That hardly seems "literary". I'm not going to read them again. I have re-read maybe three books in my entire life; and those were because the writing was so delicious (I already knew the endings!)
The article states that people like to give away their books. Fine. Nobody has my taste, unfortunately.* I tried donating some books to my work library, and no one wanted them.
*I don't read zombie books, or vampire books.
Sell them? Have you been to a used book store lately? The return on used books isn't worth the gas it costs to drive to the book store.
As for problem #2, I like to read a book when it's new. Hardcover books are expensive! If I have to wait for the paperback edition, I might as well forget about it, which I have no doubt already done. Forgotten about it; that is. My memory's not as sharp as it used to be.
Here are the advantages of e-books, to me:
- They take up no space whatsoever!
- They're much cheaper to buy than bound books.
- I can sit at home and download them from my local library - for free! (granted, the choices are minimal).
Sure, I could wander over to my town library, but in my observation, libraries have begun to resemble independent record stores; in that, one is lucky to find the actual thing that the place supposedly represents.
My local independent record store sells posters, t-shirts, incense, bobbleheads, books (!), cheap trinkets, and a miniscule amount of music.
My local library has DVD's, CD's, computer terminals, storybook time, assorted political propaganda, and a teeny number of actual books.
The only reason I renewed my library card was so I could download e-books and mp3's (at home!)
So, sure I like the feel of a real book. I like the smell of the paper, and I like placing my bookmark in the crease at the end of the night. I like going back and re-reading a passage or looking at the pictures again (still haven't conquered that feat on my Kindle - I must be an idiot).
An e-reader, though, is a useful alternative. As long as I remember to recharge it.