Voices Soft, Words Inviting: Going Digital Won’t Be the Death of Print

My books 🙂

“And their voices were soft,
And their words inviting…

I dreamed a dream in time gone by,
When hope was high and life, worth living.
I dreamed that love would never die…”

РLes Mis̩rables

I love books.

I blog about them and I think words are these powerful objects that make the world turn around and around.

When I blogged about the e-book being the death of print, a little piece of me died inside. When I tweeted and tweeted about how amazing the new Nook from Barnes & Noble was looking, a little bit more of me died inside and then I read “Beyond Borders: The Future Of Bookselling” and I felt like I got a little bit of my own back.

I concur; I support; I most certainly agree – shopping for books is like shopping for a good husband or that snug fitting dress to make the opposite sex’s jaw drop. It takes time, patience, concentration and yes, you’ll know it when you see it.

I love New York City. Have I ever told you that? But what I love the most about New York City, is that like other cities (perhaps London) there are bookstores in mass quantity. But not just any type of bookstore but gigantic three-story (or four-story) monstrosities filled with bounded paper, street sellers with unique vintage pieces and indie stores operated by enthusiasts. These options open an entire new world of possibilities and delicious delights.

Books are delectable fruit which are like a fine wine, they get better with age and the smell can intoxicate you. That feeling you get when you turn the page of something really good is like nothing else in this world because it takes over your senses and transports you to another time and space.

The last time I was in NYC, while waiting for an appointment with my cousin, he asked me where I wanted to go to kill time. I told him the three-story Barnes & Noble across the street.

“What did you need?” he asked.

“Nothing…I dunno…,” I said shrugging my shoulders. “You can get coffee?” I prodded.

My books 🙂 Yes, those books!

My cousin Matthew, the Marine, likes books too, but I think he likes the excuse to drink a frap even more – so we ventured in. About an hour and a half later, I walked out “Love Letters of Great Men,” a novel inspired by the book Carrie Bradshaw had in “Sex & the City: The Movie,” and “The 50th Law” by one of my favourite authors Robert Greene, which incidentally is co-written by 50 Cent, go figure.

I don’t think I would have made these purchases had I been surfing Amazon.com or BN.com because let’s face it, 50 Cent can barely speak properly, so while I’m sure, Robert Greene wrote most of “The 50th Law,” I wouldn’t have picked it out.

And “Love Letters of Great Men” – well, I’m no Carrie Bradshaw and I certainly don’t have a Mr. Big in my life, so I would have just click “next” and go over to a non-fan book section.

But that’s the beauty of print. You get to hold something in your hand that is tangible, colourful, textured and can evoke feelings of curiosity and yearning. That’s something an e-reader or a digital book can never do at first sight.

That love is lost.

Not to mention the fact, that, with the actual item in your hands, you can browse through it, read pieces of  it and see if it’s for you.

Earlier in the day, Matt and I were outside of Central Park and there was a street shop selling books: olds books, new books, audio books and some bags. Nevertheless, we stopped and browsed.

That’s when I found it; another piece of love.

Alexander Hamilton has always been my favourite Founding Father(s) of the United States, ever since eight grade American History when I first learned who he was. Since then I’ve started a small collection of reading materials on Mr. Hamilton. He’s not as famous as Washington, or Jefferson or Adams, so my selections always had to be selective and sincere; it had to be something I wanted to read. Or something precious that I would look at and it would make me smile. My dad once gave me four books from the mid 1800s each featuring pieces on Hamilton. I keep them snug and fit, next to my “Harry Potter” books.

My Alexander Hamilton & Harry Potter Bookself. Yes Potter's are all first editions 🙂

Well, that faithful morning, I came across a three-pound, used, first edition print of a Hamilton biography and I was sucked into its pages like a moth to a flame.

I know Amazon.com can offer ridiculously cheap prices on books and get them to your doorstep with the ease of a prima ballerina. I also know that Barnes & Noble’s Nook will change the future of the e-read.

But really, can you imagine a world without a bookstore?

Can you imagine the future children of the world being as engrossed in “Harry Potter,” or “Twilight” or “Nancy Drew,” even “Dr. Seuss” without the real thing in front of them? I don’t think I can.

I suppose, like Rachel Cooke, if that makes me spoilt, then I don’t care.

For in this world, in the list of the greatest gifts, reading books, as they were meant to be written and read, is in my top five.

~*~

One of my favourite places to swap books for free (minus shipping) online is a place called Paperback Swap. You should check them out. If they ask you who sent you, if you decide to sign up tell them [sashahalima]at[gmail]dot[com]. That would be me 🙂

–

Sasha Muradali runs the ‘Little Pink Book’ . She holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida (’07) and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami(’08). She loves Twitter and all things social media, so you should find her @SashaHalima or get a copy of the ‘Little Pink Book’ delivered to your Kindle.

Copyright © 2009 Sasha H. Muradali. All Rights Reserved.

Comments

  1. Nice post, Sasha! I never thought of this subject in terms of picking out a book. I always have trouble picking out the “next” book and usually go through some sort of process that includes flipping through 4 or 5 of them before I can settle on “the one”. The only time I buy online is when I know *exactly* what I want. The print market may get smaller, but it won't die because of people like us!

    Thanks,
    Tom
    @TomOKeefe1

  2. Hi Tom,

    Thank you so much! Me too! I know what I want to buy before I get it from Amazon.com or any other online store.

    And because I 'm a Barnes & Noble member, they send me extra coupons in the mail. So sometimes when it's just one book (below $25, which means free shipping above $25) I go to the stores right by my home. We have two Barnes & Nobles near to where I live and I love them.

    I certainly agree. The market is getting smaller, but I don't think it will die because like you and I, there are still people in the world who want the tangible/real thing in their hands 🙂

    Thanks for your comment,
    Sasha 🙂

  3. You're so very right. Just the smell of books evokes a thirst for knowledge. Beautiful prose.

  4. Thank you Stefan 🙂

  5. allenkristina says:

    I was just reading an article on e-books and saw this paragraph that instantly reminded me of you (and this post):

    “So if your goal is to write a 200-page book, you might just go ahead and try to get a publisher, or even have your work self-published. People who read books tend to love books themselves, so it makes sense to give book lovers what they want… a real book.”

    Source: http://www.copyblogger.com/create-ebooks-that-s

    I, 100% agree that there is nothing like holding a new book in your hands.

  6. lol, excellent Kristina 🙂

    Thank you!

  7. Hi Tom,

    Thank you so much! Me too! I know what I want to buy before I get it from Amazon.com or any other online store.

    And because I 'm a Barnes & Noble member, they send me extra coupons in the mail. So sometimes when it's just one book (below $25, which means free shipping above $25) I go to the stores right by my home. We have two Barnes & Nobles near to where I live and I love them.

    I certainly agree. The market is getting smaller, but I don't think it will die because like you and I, there are still people in the world who want the tangible/real thing in their hands 🙂

    Thanks for your comment,
    Sasha 🙂

  8. You're so very right. Just the smell of books evokes a thirst for knowledge. Beautiful prose.

  9. Thank you Stefan 🙂

  10. allenkristina says:

    I was just reading an article on e-books and saw this paragraph that instantly reminded me of you (and this post):

    “So if your goal is to write a 200-page book, you might just go ahead and try to get a publisher, or even have your work self-published. People who read books tend to love books themselves, so it makes sense to give book lovers what they want… a real book.”

    Source: http://www.copyblogger.com/cre…/

    I, 100% agree that there is nothing like holding a new book in your hands.

  11. lol, excellent Kristina 🙂

    Thank you!