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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Farewell the physical book my friend!

eBook Readers GaloreImage by libraryman via Flickr

Summer trips to my local library are a somewhat nostalgic journey for me now, as I question the role that e-book readers will play in the years to come.   I linger longer at the colourful display of books lining the sterile shelves, and lovingly stroke the familiar feel of a hard cover book, with it's enduring quality, akin to an antique that has been passed down the generations.   The touch and smell of a physical book takes me back to my youth, and my early years of literacy. 

Books were a huge part of growing up for me, celebrating rituals, declaring new adventures, love stories, dramas,  that I could enact in my own life, and live eternally in my head.  Just as the Bible gave life to my soul, books have given life to my curiosity for learning, and passions.  Of course you might say, well how does the platform make a difference?  Should it?

Last year Amazon reported that  sales of e-books had passed those of hardcovers.  Now this year e-book sales have surpassed the sale of paperbacks.  Book stores all over North America are fighting for their life to stay in business, and are having to re-invent themselves.  New  e-book readers are coming out all the time, with new technology added as we speak.  I am still in two minds about which e-book reader to go with, and I am inclined to wait until the new IPad 3 is launched to make a decision.  I know that it makes sense technologically and environmentally to go with e- readers, and yes there is something about storage that makes delightful sense to my library archive mind.  BUT there is something so wonderful about the squishy feel of a paperback, while lying on your lounger, without having to worry whether your battery is charged?  From my recitations of poetry as a child, to my loving sharing with friends over book club, the physical feel of a book cannot be understated. Can the e-reader draw me in with its allure.. can it transcend the personal touch of the physical book?

As we celebrate our new learning commons, I am excited about the role e-books will play in opening up new dimensions of reading for all our students and staff.  Christian fiction will be just a click away.  Literacy will become speedy, and convenient,  opening up new avenues of learning for students and staff all over B.C.   In time maybe textbooks will all be read this way, hence eliminating a huge expense for paper and for carrying around books. In book stores most e- books are half the price of a hard cover.   As soon as E book readers incorporate note taking skills, I think the future is determined. It would also be wonderful if they could make the screen a little bit bendy:)  Now that is my dream!

So as you can tell, I am still wobbling on the fence, relishing the personal relationship I have with my physical book, but anticipating an exciting future with e-books.  Having more choice in how I read is definitely a plus, and I pray that these wonderful innovations will be a blessing to you this coming year.  Now when does that new IPad arrive???

If you have an e- reader that works for you, please comment below and tell me what works and why? 


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