The eWar

So this is a blog about books, which means I have something I need to talk to you about. Fair warning, I’m going to talk about ebooks vs. paper books today. It’s sort of the obligatory topic these days, the elephant in the room, so I guess I should make it clear on which side of the literary war I stand. But here’s the thing: I don’t want to have to pick a side.

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I love books. LOVE them. I devoured them through grade school. While my classmates waited for recess or gym, I waited for the two periods a week we got to go to the library. I love the smell of books, the slight crack a new book makes when you open it for the first time, the feel of it. I can spend actual HOURS in a bookstore, just browsing.

But at the same time, I adore my Kindle. It’s light and compact, I can carry all my Harry Potter books in my purse. I can have a new book in my hands without even getting out of bed, and it looks nice. I can change the font size to suit my whim, and I can search for a passage with just a push of a few buttons. It’s convenient, and it’s sort of friendly and intriguing. And while I can spend hours just browsing a bookstore or library, I can spend just as long with my Amazon account. These days, armed with my Prime account, I can even borrow books with my ereader without leaving my house.

I hate feeling like I need to defend my ereader. I hate feeling like I need to take a side. I stand, firmly in the middle. And I know there are growing pains. Our industry revolves around the pricing that comes from physical books. But we aren’t the first industry to experience the adjustment to technology, and we can figure it out.

In the end, books are books. They’re still stories, ideas, pieces of us, whether they are bits of data or ink on paper. It doesn’t matter how we get them, delivered to my cell phone or my ereader or picked up at the local book store or handed to me by my best friend. What we read, why we read, that’s the important part, not how we read. As long as we’re reading, does it matter whether it’s on a screen or a page? We’ve been telling stories since the beginning of our history, the way we tell them has changed, and it’s changing still, but that’s never stopped the telling.

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