Go-Go Gadget or Inkworld

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am probably the most bookish person you will ever meet. My entire room is decorated around the 300+ books that I have collected over the past 5 years. In my opinion, there is nothing in the world as wonderful and comforting as books. Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books history is silent, literature is dumb, science crippled, and thought and speculation would pass away with the thinker. They are the engines of change, windows of the world, lighthouses erected in the seas of time. Many see books as the foundation of culture, the cornerstone of wisdom and the gateway into history.

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Part of my book collection!

It is no surprise then that there is such resistance to the new arrival of the e-book, that newfangled contraption that threatens to put the bookstore out of business. Though printed books have strong sentimental value and are more reliable, I have discovered (as a Kindle owner) that e-books also have their appeal and have proved themselves to be more practical for transportation and space, and they also are much better on the environment.

I am one of many people that are very sentimental about printed books. In my mind there is nothing quite like a book; the gentle caress of the pages between your fingers, and the whisper of the words, waiting to come alive as you lose yourself within their mysteries. Books will always be there for us; they don’t require batteries, and they don’t rely on the cooperation of technical devices to be readily available. If a person wants a new book, all they have to do is walk down to the local bookstore and purchase one of the thousands of volumes on the shelves. We can take a bath with a book without worrying about damaging the mechanical parts, and we can take them camping without trying to conserve the battery.

I have read many online blogs of people that simply refuse to own an e-book because they don’t want to support the industry that is threatening their precious books. They worry, as I did, that if e-books become more popular than print books then there is a chance that publishers will stop printing print books, and bookstores will go out of business. Many fear a loss of literary writing and reading, others of the world’s storehouse of knowledge if it all goes digital. Few stop to consider that the chance of this happening is very slim. The e-book was born in 1971 … and is now 40 years old, and yet e-book sales still only make up barely 1% of book sales.

An E-book is a computerized device that can contain an entire library of books within 6 ounces and approximately 6.5 x 4.5 inches (Amazon Kindle). E-books are definitely more practical when it comes to transportability and space management. For example, if a bookworm like myself decided to go on vacation in Florida, naturally she would want to bring all of her favorite books along with her. It would be a challenge packing and toting 20 books onto a plane, not to mention heavy. But if that same bookworm had an e-book, all she would have to do is stick the device in her hand bag and she’s all set.

Another aspect to consider, is the environmental impact of books. It is becoming very common for people to make environmentally “light” choices in their every day living. So now I will bore you with a short analysis of the environmental impact of this argument. E-books don’t require paper and are therefore, much easier on the environment. Simply the process of making paper is a huge strain on our environment. Chemical pulping [to make paper] involves cooking the wood at elevated pressure with a solution of sulphur-based chemicals to extract the fibrous component (cellulose) from trees. The sulphur chemicals account for the rotten egg smell of many pulp mills. Less than 50% of the tree is used in the process. The remainder ends up as sludge, which is burned, spread on land or landfilled. So we cut down a whole tree and then only use less than half of it, the rest becomes an unusable waste called sludge. I personally like to get all of my books from thrift-stores, so the environmental side doesn’t really affect me all that much, because the books are already made.

I LOVE using books for decorating! There is nothing to compare to the homey, comfy look of books in a room.

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My Tolkien Collection

So if you are concerned about the environment or travel a lot, an e-book is probably the best option for you. But if you have room in your home and are addicted to the feel of the page in your hands, and the welcoming smell of the paper and ink, then by all means, grab a book and make yourself at home!