At the risk of sounding like a luddite, some thoughts about the differences between digital books on e-readers and a real, honest-to-goodness paperback or hardback book printed on paper pages have been rolling around in my mind lately.
Why? Because of the photo above. In a concerted and time-consuming effort, Mama has been clearing out this ol’ empty nest. We’ve lived in our country home for 21 years now and the accumulation of stuff tells me so.
So short of selling the house and moving (which always helped de-cluttering in the past but is precisely what Mama and Papa don’t want to do), I set my sights on eliminating the ever-growing assortment lurking in closets, drawers, and especially our very large unfinished basement.
What a job it was! Middle daughter contributed quite an assortment of no longer wanted items herself, so we decided to hold a garage sale or a tag sale as some folks call such an event. Sorting, marking items with prices, and setting up tables to display it all seemed like a herculean task, but I remained undaunted. We advertised our sale – where else but Facebook?
After two days of selling (and praying people would show up to peruse our stuff and take it home with them), we did manage to
unload sell a good bit of our former belongings, including some bigger items. But WAY too much remained, and we hauled two very full SUV-loads to our nearest thrift shop to donate.
After all was said and done though, an observation I made saddened me. Papa and I are readers, and we own shelves and shelves of books. We decided it was time to reduce those collections, so many boxes filled with paperbacks, hardbacks, and even children’s chapter books all priced inexpensively and ready for new homes were added to the sale.
To my dismay, hardly anyone even looked at the books. Out of the scads of people who rummaged through our offerings, practically every one of them walked right by the books without a glance. I think we sold a grand total of two hardback books to an older woman and a handful of children’s paperbacks to one lady who mentioned she was trying to entice her son to read more.
What? No one wants “real” books anymore? I get it. You can download books digitally on your kindles or e-readers. But still….for me, reading electronically isn’t as relaxing as cozying up on my couch with a nice cup of hot tea and a book in my hand. And finishing that book gives me a kind of satisfying fulfillment concluding a digital copy just doesn’t provide.
And I don’t know about you, but when I’m at the beach, I’d much rather read from a printed paperback then haul my kindle down onto the sand.
When I get distracted by the soothing sounds of ocean waves or that seagull who keeps trying to get close enough to see if I’ll throw it some crumbs or I simply get drowsy, I can put a physical bookmark in my book and set it aside.
I don’t have to readjust my focus on reading to realize my e-reader resorted to sleep mode while I was inactive, or squint in the bright sunlight to try to read it, or shut it down because it needs recharged, or locate a safe, non-sandy spot to store it.
I assume I’m not the only person who prefers printed books to electronic ones, but I searched the all-knowing internet just to make sure I wasn’t the only off-the-wall hermit of a real book lover still in existence. (Don’t get your shorts in a knot, I know there are still some of you out there in cyber-land.)
And here’s one of the sites – 5o Reasons Real Books Are Vastly Superior to eBooks – I found that caused me to nod my head often as I read it even though the guy who wrote the article called it satire.
I also found a non-satirical site comparing the two that spouted good common sense about why physical books are better than eBooks. It stated that reading on a screen is more tiring for your eyes than reading printed matter. And interestingly, studies have shown that students comprehend less when reading electronically than with traditional printed books.
You know what? I have found that to be true myself. I will buzz through an eBook quickly and then not even really remember much about the storyline but with a printed hard copy, I remember it well.
Sometimes I look at the library of eBooks I have and don’t even remember reading the ones that my kindle app marks as read. Plus, to be honest, some eBooks just really aren’t as well-written as traditionally published ones.
When it comes to books, I’d rather hold a printed one in my hands, go to the library to borrow as many as I want, and enjoy reading that way.
So what to do with all of the boxes of books still sitting in our garage? I could establish a free little lending library like one of my blogging friends has done. I love noticing those and have often photographed some on our excursions.
“A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never-failing spring in the desert.” ~ Andrew Carnegie
But a few things might hamper that idea – we live in a very rural area and honestly, I sincerely doubt if anyone would even utilize one here. I’m not sure placing it in any nearby towns would work well either because lately I’ve noticed a lot of vandalism. Plus that wouldn’t be purging all of those boxes of many books at one time.
Thus, I may contact a used bookstore in the city and see if they would be willing to take some of them and, more than likely, I’ll donate the books to some community libraries in our area and thrift shops.
I just hope my assumption that folks don’t read printed books, or any kind of books for that matter, is wrong because I recall a quote once made by the writer, Ray Bradbury: “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
Anyone interested in a couple boxes of real books? Or do any of you readers out there have another suggestion for me? There’s still lots of good reading in those books.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” ~ George R.R. Martin