Tuesday, March 8, 2011


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?"


FabricGreetings said...

Oh, Lynn, how very true. There is nothing like holding a book in your hand and feeling its weight as you get so engrossed the world could stop.
The Scholastic Book Club was a big part of my life - first as a teacher and then as a Mom. I think we still have some of those books from 40 years ago.

Ritzee Rebel said...

Oh I completely agree! I love reading and nothing will ever replace or have the same feeling as holding a book and turning its pages. Even the smell of bookstores is something I hold dear. And I loved the Scholastic book club, my favorite time of year was when my school would hand out the flier with the info on what books could be ordered...I always marked tons of things and I'm sure I always had one of the largest orders in the class!

sewsouk said...

I still have many childhood books and moved them here to Morocco! As a child I used to buy about 20 paperbacks in jumble sales at the beginning of the summer vacation. I guess e books are good if they get children back to reading but I prefer the feel and smell of a real book!. Here in the arab world very few people read novels only non fiction or religious books.

sewsouk said...

Funny we both posted at the same time and commented on the smell of books!