I love the library.
You already know I like to read (wait, did you know that? Well now you do). I used to have a Barnes & Noble membership, but it expired last month. I made seriously good use of it, though! Nowadays, I’m trying to save a little bit of dough ’cause of the whole wedding thing, so I’ve been taking MAJOR advantage of my library.
The North of Boston Library Exchange is a network of area libraries that share resources. I can log on to the website using my library card number and PIN, search for books I’ve been wanting to read, and add them to a “request” list or a “want to read” list (though I’m having hard time finding mine… hmm).
I’ve always loved the library. The smells of the books, the white noise of hushed conversation muffled by rows of books, and the sense of community.The library’s always been a welcome place and a huge resource in a given town.
I don’t know if I love e-readers.
This brings me to another point, that of the e-reader. The newest line of gadgets coming out and taking over everyone’s attention, e-readers allow users to download books to their computers (or directly to the reader) to read on a paper-simulating screen. Some examples include the Kindle from Amazon, the nook from Barnes & Noble, and the Sony reader from Borders.
The big pro is condensing enormous books into a medium that’s only about a quarter-inch thick and the size of a folded piece of paper. They’re immensely portable, and allow you to have multiple books at your disposal at any given time. What immediately comes to mind is me being able to tote around all seven Harry Potters at once without giving myself scoliosis. Score!
The big con, for me at least, is the lack of the tactile experience of books. The crack of the spine the first time you open a book, the smell of the ink on the pages, turning the pages, even curling up on the couch under a blanket with a cup of tea and a good book/ climbing into a hammock with a cold beer and a good book… all gone.
There’s also the whole dilemma of copyrights and the electronic medium. When will the e-reader format of a book come out in the publishing cycle– with the hardcover, after the hardcover, tied in with the paperback, or at another point? And is it fair that it wouldn’t come out with the hardcover? From a business perspective, the publishing houses would lose money if they release the e-book at the same time as the hardcover, as most e-books run about $10, compared to $30 for the hardcovers (at least in my experience).
What do you think?
Do you love the library as much as I do, or am I completely crazy (as usual) in my passion for public books? Do you have an e-reader? What do you think about the concept of the e-book?