Today I went for a lovely meander through Borders bookshop. Mmmm…delightful!
There is nothing like the smell of a bookshop, and with the increasing popularity of e-readers, book covers seem more attractive than ever. Publishers seem to not only be ramping up the quality of book cover artwork, but the range in textures is booming: there are books that feel fabric covered, books with pliable canvas-type wrapping, and reprints of classics like Wuthering Heights in black embossed moleskin-like covers, complete with elastic binding strap.
I love paper printed, holdable, page-turnable books.
But…I also love my Kindle.
One one hand this is not a new space to be in. Remember when we all started getting iPods? And getting all worried about the relevance/importance of our CD collections, complaining about how cover art would be lost along with a sense of ‘the album’ as people started buying more singles? It turns out that for me, this hasn’t really been too troubling – I buy most music electronically now, but I do still tend to buy albums rather than singles, and many albums do come with their album artwork, albeit in an electronic file. I don’t at all miss having a bazillion identical (breakable) plastic cases to house my music in, and when someone who I’m a real ‘fan’ of releases an album…well, I do still tend to buy the CD! For a few, I even have bought a vinyl copy.
I wonder how long it will take for self-proclaimed bibliophiles to strike a similar level of comfort with the move to electronic readers?
Are they really that committed to filling vast walls of space in their houses with shelves of dusty once-read (and never-read) books? (my inner cynic says: ‘but how else will they be able to show visitors how terribly well-read they are??)
Or are they just worried that using a Kindle is going to kill the book store? I confess that being in the book store today did make me stop on this particular concern.
But CDs are still around, and books are WAY cooler as objets d’art than CDs ever were. So perhaps it’s time to relax.