After my post a few days ago on the loss of bookstores there were quite a few comments which raised issues which have prompted me to another post. Books are such an essential part of our lives that this is one subject that affects almost all of us one way or another.
One of the points was the ability to collect books. CJ (aka Scriptor Senex for anyone new reading this blog) is a collector of many things from beer mats in his Uni days to photos of postboxes. I remarked to him a few years ago that I couldn't recall ever having an interest in collecting anything. He looked at me and said something like "So that wall case of well over a thousand CDs and that wall of book case and the shelves in the loft don't merit being called a collection?" That made me think. I had never regarded CDs or books as collections. They are just an integral part of my life. However why do I keep all the CDs when all my music is on computer and although the entire collection is nearly 200Gb most of the music I listen to and carry with me to New Zealand (where I have no CDs) can be stored on the 120Gb of one little iPod. Likewise my entire collection of books (leastways the ones that are in print) can be stored on computer and a reader like the iPad, Kindle or iRiver (which I'd not heard of until Yvonne mentioned it).
With CDs I like to look at them and choose what I want to play. The other thing about them is that the quality of the sound using a CD and my hifi system is better than the sound straight from the computer or iPod even when fed into the hifi system.
With books the one common thing upon which we all seem to be agreed is that there is just 'something about' a book that one doesn't get in a Kindle. Many of my books are reference books. A Kindle can be both useful and useless for reference books. The basic ones which I use for birds and insects, for example, do not appear to be available on Kindle. Even if they were then browsing through photographs for identification would, I imagine, be quite hard on a Kindle unless one knew the name one was looking for and used the search facility. And a book of paintings or photographs in large format will never be quite surpassed for browsing by a computer screen. - will it? There is a discussion on the book versus Kindle topic at Beatties Book Blog.
I was in town this afternoon and popped into Beattie and Forbes:
It's pretty much like any other bookshop and it does have one huge advantage over Amazon which I think we all recognise too: you can browse and find books you didn't know had been written on topics you may never have given a thought to. I found one such book.
As I mentioned we also have a wonderful second-hand bookshop The Little Bookstore about which I've blogged and a Book Exchange which I passed today:
At the end of the day it's what we are happy with but I'll leave you with the words of Yvonne (la mujer libre) "What is it I like about my favourite books? Surely it's the words that the books contain - words that are ordered in a way that affects me. It's not the cover, nor the number of pages and etc..."