February 24, 2010

Over the holidays I received a Kindle as one of my Christmas gifts. It was very exciting. Given the amount that I travel for work, I usually carry one or two books in my bag. The Kindle cuts down on space and weight. So far, I really like it. It’s easy to use, extremely easy to get new books, and reads much like regular paper. And it seems in line with the way things seem to be going – digital.

The tricky part is, I really like actual books too. I like holding them. I like having a big shelf to display them. It’s strange; I dislike buying books if I don’t know if I’ll like them. I tend to only buy books if I’ve read them from the library or borrowed them from a friend. So having something to display is a huge factor. A friend once told me it was vain – buying books for display purposes rather than reading purposes. But then again, I see it as one more way to share things I like. And I just can’t do the same with digital e-books. Sure, I’ve joined Goodreads to track books I want to read and books I liked. And I could write a blog post about each book, creating a digital bookshelf. But it’s not the same as walking into a house and looking at the shelf while your host is making you a drink.

Plus, I like book stores. It’s probably in part due to the fact that I like physical books and the display of books. And I’m a huge fan of libraries. My favorite part of libraries is they almost always have old book sales. I can pick up a whole bag of books for very little, read the books, and then, for all the books I don’t want to keep, I donate them back to the library. But book stores and libraries provide something more than just a place to get books. They provide a place for working (all those college students), a place to chat with friends (ah, high school), and just a place to spend time by yourself. Where else can you do that? Coffee shops are close, but you still need to have a plan to sit at a coffee shop. Having books available means there’s always a potential activity to eat up hours of time. Sadly, this reasoning does not help keep book stores in business.



  1. bookshops smell really good. especially if they have a coffee shop. i wish my house always smelled like books and coffee.
    there’s nothing wrong with wanting to display books as decoration. If anything, it’s much more personal to have books that you love up on display that random artwork or knickknacks that are purely aesthetic, although i taped books like peter pan to my walls, which may be a bit extreme-a bookshelf does just fine.

    • Completely agree! And given the amount of stuff you taped to your walls, it makes books seem less extreme.

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