Sitting with a few friends we were marveling about how far computers have come.
Now, we’re all over 50 years of age, and getting a bit old, but we have witnessed some of the most advanced technological changes the world has ever known.
Some things we have lived through was the transition of black and white televisions to color televisions.
We marveled how some people had the telephone connected to their homes, and didn’t have to run down to the phone box to make a call, to everyone having a phone in their pocket.
We all agreed how marvelous it is that we can now talk in real time to anyone in the world. We can share videos, images, almost anything with anyone who has access to a computer and the internet.
We can download movies instantaneously, and make comments about them that can be read immediately by anyone in the world on huge social media platforms.
If you have a question, need to fix your car or are wondering what happened to an old movie star, the answers are at your fingertips.
However, when the conversation turned to books the agreement stopped. One person said print books were doomed. They cited their electronic reader which held thousands of eBooks and could be carried around in a handbag or satchel.
They said the only place print books would be seen would be in museums where people would laugh and point.
Are print books doomed?
As an author and someone who is passionate about children’s literature, I don’t agree. I can certainly see the advantage of having thousands of eBooks at your fingertips, but there is something quite special about a book.
Is it the smell?
Old books smell. There is nothing to compare them to. They have their own special fragrance which has something to do with old paper and ink. Many people love that smell.
We know smell is a powerful trigger for memories, and I wonder if people reading them are recalling fond memories they might have read as a child.
Is it the feel of the book?
Books are rectangular objects and the weight can change depending upon the number of pages. However, when you hold a book, regardless of its size, it is perfectly balanced.
You can open it up and slip into the pages. You can even hide behind it, and pretend there is nothing in the world except you and your book.
And, it is this point which I believe makes print books so very special.
A reader has a special relationship with a book
When you begin reading a book you are starting a relationship with the book itself. It sounds strange, but there is this sense of being bonded with the characters and the events.
You tend to believe you are part of the story, and that it, and the book, only exist for you at that particular time.
Will you get these feelings from an e-reader as you swipe from page to page? Will you like the characters and feel the same intense connection with them and the story?
What are your thoughts? Does the future of books lie in e-readers or will print books still have the power to command our attention tomorrow and into the future.
Susan Day, children’s author and writer. Her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips, for grandparents, parents, and teachers to support children in their literacy journey.
As well, Susan has created a guide for grandparents who want to build a more meaningful relationship with their grandchildren.
Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three boss cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo.
And, apart from blogging, writing, and reading, she loves coffee, painting, and gardening.