I read an article earlier this morning, stating that paperback sales are down by over 25%, in a year. I read it and almost spat my coffee out, in a fit of panic. I am Pro-paperback….let’s give me a chance to get you to turn Pro, too.
From early childhood, I’ve taken pleasure in reading stories. I had no appreciation of the style it was written in, or even the actual writing itself but I adored the feeling of being eaten up into another world. There was something magical about your Protagonist coming to life, with each turn of the page. The waking of imagination as you gave them a face and a voice. The Author provided the outline and I loved nothing more than colouring it in.
My favourite childhood book was Flour Babies by Anne Fine. I loved the humour and the sense of being trusted with a real story. It was funny but sad. It was naughty but gave the right message. It was mine.
I still have my copy of Flour Babies. Maybe it was the book that shaped my love of literature. As you can see, it’s yellowed and bedraggled and bursting with memories. I can flick the pages and be that little girl again. And maybe I’m silly and overly sentimental but…
…there’s no flicking to be had, with an E-Reader. I know all of the positives to be had, I get it.
- They’re lighter – I’m sorry. Are your paperbacks lined with lead? A standard paperback weighs 130g more than say, a Kindle. You’re not going to pump muscle with one of these babies in your bag.
- You can have thousands of titles at your very fingertips – Oh that’s great…if you’re Johnny 5. If you’re not Johnny 5, you are probably going to read a book at a time.
- They are more environmentally friendly – Trees are grown especially for the paper. I believe this to be a cop-out.
- You don’t have to leave your house to purchase a book, thus being more convenient – Are we not, ‘battling the bulge’, internationally? Come on, get up off your backside and go and buy a book, you lazy goat!
Oh I’ve gone off in a rant, inside my head, when it comes to the last point listed. As a fan of books, I enjoy the book shop experience. I love walking in and looking for what I want. Even better…I love going in and not having any idea at all.
I can spend hours, just pulling titles off the shelves and reading their synopses, checking out the different categories, switching between the informative and the imaginative. I savour the choice before my eyes.
I also find them a place of solace, a place where you can get lost for a little while as you peek into different worlds and knowledge. And there is no place better than a privately run Bookshop. The little ones that sell hidden gems, like this one I found…
And then there is the whole, reading experience. I’ve tried reading on one of these readers… it’s not the same.
It’s the suspense in the turn of the page, the feel of it between your fingers… the few pages of the story remaining (as opposed to 18%). It’s the smell of a new book and the crispness of the pages. The history of an old book and its aged beauty.
I can only foresee the paperback taking the same route as the CD. Give it twenty years…there’ll be little or few new published. Well, I shall not go to the dark side and I invite you to do the same.
Are we at the beginning of the end, of our love affair, with the paperback book?
God, I really hope not.