I am disheartened to admit that a collective I hold very dear will soon be on the "endangered" list. Though I love animals, I am not referring to one of those species. Yet the subjects of my concern do, in a sense, live. They put forth ideas, teach, entertain, and leave a legacy to future generations. They are books. The type that are printed and bound, which have weight and a presence. Books one can give as gifts, or keep and cherish.
The very definition of "book" is changing. It is no longer what my dictionary states: "A set of written sheets of skin or paper or tablets of wood or ivory." Nor even: "A long written or printed literary composition". I suppose in this digital age it is not surprising that books, along with a number of things, are becoming electronic.
There are many advantages to e-books. Numerous literary works can be stored on Kindles, iPads, or Nooks. These devices are lightweight and easy to transport. Fewer trees will be turned into paper. There will be less to dust. Believe me, I would love to not have so much to dust! There are currently 6 large bookcases in my house, each one jam-packed.
My book acquisition started in grade school through the Scholastic Book Club, a mail-order service dealing in children's books. One could place an order at school, where the books would be sent and distributed. It was thrilling on the days the books arrived. They were simple paperbacks, but filled with stories of other places, wonderous and magical tales. I amassed quite a collection, and was loath to give them up when I moved out of my parent's house. With fond memories I sorted through them, and kept 14 of my favorites. After all these years, I have them still.
Scholastic Inc. continues to stay in business, largely due to the fact that it has the exclusive U.S. publishing rights to the Harry Potter book series. I am not sure if the book club still exists. But bound books will never completely disappear, just as vinyl records and fountain pens have not. I only hope I will never be watching an old film in which a mother pulls out a book to read a bedtime story to her children, and hear a young person in the audience ask; "What's that thing the mother is holding in her hands?"