A-Z April 2012

B is for Books

Here we are on day 2 of the A-Z Challenge 2012, and therefore we are bringing you today’s blog courtesy of the letter B.

Before we begin, I must apologise for the hastily posted and badly introduced post yesterday. I was in a bit of a spin yesterday and didn’t get any computer access until really late last night so couldn’t post anything until nearly bedtime. It was entirely my own fault for not being properly organised with this challenge, and having read 15 other blogger’s efforts today I have been galvanised into producing something worthwhile today. So here we go.

B is for Books

We have been writing and scribing on materials such as velum, bark, stone, papyrus etc for hundreds of thousands of years, but the humble book as we know it has only been around for around 1500 years. We have had scrolls, tablets, codexes etc for much longer than that, but in terms of a collection of pages with information or entertaining material on them hinged to the side are a relatively new idea in the grand history of man.

The book itself has changed relatively little since it was first constructed – Medieval monks wrote them, copied them, illustrated them and bound them pretty much as they do now. Of course the printing press had a huge influence on the strict mechanics of how the humble book was made, but a modern book looks exactly the same as a Medieval one. The production method and the materials used to bind it are different to the first books, but it is still essentially the same thing.

Until recently.

The humble paper- or hard-back book has a little brother, the e-book. A lot of people would argue that an e-book is not a book at all – how can it be if you can’t actually hold it?? Books have been stored electronically since the 1940’s (yes I was surprised by that fact when I first read it), but the widespread production and sale of digital books has only really taken off in the past few years.

So what of the future of books? Do they have a place in our future, or are they consigned to history now? Will they be as valuable to our descendants as they were to our ancestors? Who knows.

I am a great book lover, but recently I have had to question myself whether it really is the BOOK I love, or the WORDS inside them.  I came to my decision that it was the words and the stories that are more important when a very kind lady at church gave me several bags full of paperbacks that she was throwing out. I will probably get round to reading them all in time, but until I do, I am stepping over piles of Harlan Coben, John Grisham and Jeffrey Deaver books all around my bed and to be honest, falling over them is starting to get a bit tiresome! I have got boxes and boxes of books stored in my loft and garage, which is a comforting thought to me, but the influx of reading material in the last couple of weeks has got me thinking that even for me, the future of the paperback is questionable.

The advent of Kindle books has been fantastic, and I have enjoyed reading a couple of books on my PC so for me the next natural step is to move away from my computer screen and get my hands on a proper e-reader.

I have pre-ordered the Kindle Touch which will be out at the end of April here in the UK and I can’t wait to use it. As much as I love the physical book in my hand, I have come to the conclusion that, certainly for fiction, it is the only way forward for me. I can’t say the same for non fiction books though. I have a feeling that my “reference library” of books will be around for a long while yet!

What do you think? Are you a book fan and if so what do you think of e-books vs  tree-books? If you aren’t a book fan, what do you make of the argument that a story is a story no matter what vehicle it is delivered in?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.





14 thoughts on “B is for Books”

  1. I love the books themselves as well as the content. I worked in a bookstore for years, and I LOVED the unique smell as you walk in. Reading is very sensory oriented for me; I prefer hardbacks to paper, especially leather-bound with gilt edging.


    1. Ooooooh yes!! There’s something undefinable about holding a hardback book in your hands, especially if it is leather bound and has all the trimmings. It is a luxurious feeling and really adds to the experience of the story. The only trouble with them is the cost and the space they take up. I do love looking at rows of them on the shelf though. I’m genuinely torn about which is “best” – e or tree book.


  2. I prefer to hold the dead tree in my hands while I read. There is something comforting about rifling the pages while I read and the scent of ink and pulp that makes dive even further into the story I’m reading. While I can read any book I want on my android phone, it just doesn’t feel right so i will stick to my lovely trees for my reading entertainment.

    You did ask. ~.^


    1. Thanks Candace! Yes I did ask, and I do appreciate your answer. The sensory experience of a tree-book is completely different to that of an e-book and I think it will take me some time to decide which is “best”…if I ever will!


  3. Hello Pam: i am of 2 minds on that subject myself. I love holding a book in my hands yet, it’s burdensome to find room to store all the books i own or would like to and just like nicknacks on shelves, they gather dust. As i said in one of my previous posts on not having enough time in my day to read AND to do housework..”as the plot thickens, so does the dust.”. I’ll have to borrow an e-reader and see if it fills my yearnings for words.
    Great post! Thank you. Sylvie #36 (of 1935!) littlestoday.blogspot.com


  4. But don’t you even like the smell of a book? I love the smell of books. And I also like books with only pictures in it. These are awesome as well 🙂


    1. I absolutely adore the smell of books!! New ones, old ones, mouldy ones, ones that have been in storage, ones that have been pre-loved, ones that have pictures, ones that are ONLY pictures….good golly gosh, there’s nothing like a book!!

      E-books might deliver the STORY, but tree-books deliver the whole EXPERIENCE.


  5. I am a bit confused. The electronic world is the electronic world. Can it replace a person to person contact? No way! But it sure has its place. It widens our horizons. We couldn’t blog on the internet and keep in touch with various people without it. The same with E-books. A lot of the classics are available for free as E-books. It widens the bookworld for us. And a lot of new authors have a better chance of being published because the production of E-books is less costly.

    I hope in future people are not going to be denied access to personal contact. I also hope E-books won’t totally replace so called ‘tree-books’.


    1. I agree Uta, there are compromises with the ebook vs treebook argument as there is in lots of other areas of life. Personally, I feel that I will be using my Kindle for one-off reads but I will still invest in tree-books for specials and for non-fiction books.


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