I’ve been observing a controversy developing over the future of “Real Books“. I own an ereader and I love it! The revelation that I can have access to thousands of ebooks wherever I go, stored in a device smaller than a magazine, is amazing! Years ago I saw Martha Stewart on television holding a Kindle. She said it contained every book she ever wrote and now she could carry them all in her purse!
So why would anyone want to buy a real book? Imagine your favorite author coming to town for a book signing… You need a real book for the author to autograph… Having them sign the flyleaf of an ebook you downloaded would be difficult! Have you tried pressing flowers using your ereader? Bad idea… Score another point for printed books!
Real books provide jobs for lumberjacks, tree truckers and papermills! Entire industries need books to exist… Where would the makers of bookmarks, bookends, and bookshelves be without books? Of course ebooks have their shortcomings too! I don’t care how many ebooks you’ve got on your ereader, you can’t use it for a booster seat when company comes to dinner! Can you stand on a pile of ebooks to change a light bulb? Nothing is perfect!
I’m a handyman and I love DIY books… I’ve got dozens of them all over the house! But lately I’ve noticed when I have a project I tend to check it out on YouTube before I reference my book collection. On YouTube you can actually watch people doing the job you’re about to do and hear them talking you through it… I can download the YouTube project videos I like best to my NookColor and take them with me to the job site. Books can’t compete with that!
Seriously though, books have been with us since man learned how to make paper (and even longer if you count stone tablets!). Judging from the long lines at the checkout counter of our local Barnes & Noble, real books are as popular as ever. We have three Nooks in our family, but we still buy real books… You can give a book to a friend, but you can’t give anyone an ebook (at least not yet). When you buy a book, you own it… When you buy an ebook you own nothing… You only purchase the right to read it. The actual ebook is stored somewhere in cyber space on a “Cloud”.
I believe both books and ebooks will be with us far into the future. What’s most important is the simple act of reading. It’s food for the brain!