Don’t Bother Me, Dude. I’m Reading a Book.


A big topic in our house is how long we think books are going to be around.

I’m not talking about those black & white pixel collections on a Kindle, Nook, or iPad. I mean the old fashion p-books that we love holding in our hands. We’ve all grown up with them. Some of us have lived with them longer, and maybe that’s why we aren’t as quick to embrace the new technological ways. We still go to libraries (if we can find one that’s open) or we dig in our heels and order the paperback from Amazon. If we’re really lucky, we still live in a town that has a brick and mortar store where we can wander the aisles and get our high from new-book smells. Or run our fingers lovingly through crisp, new pages.

I know there are people who think that p-books will always be available. I’m not so sure. In my most cynical of moments, I think of the children to come – the ones who’ll use iPads in schools, and never know a textbook. I think of those children and their parents who have always relied on some type of screen – computer, phone, or tablet, and who have never understood the big fuss about paper pressed together between covers.

I don’t think they’ll miss p-books.

At bedtime, with their children close, they’ll touch screens, and pictures will move and come alive. Sounds will be heard, and music too – there will be movement and action, excitement not found on a paper page. Amazing and thrilling, the experience will capture their attention, but I’m not so sure it’ll catch their imagination. Or help them daydream, picturing in their minds what only words on a page can create: each picture, and every daydream unique to the reader or listener experiencing it.

Books of the same title may be filled with the same words, but each reader brings their own version of the story to it. The same characters are seen through different eyes, the drama, the comedy, the tears, the surprises, all the same and yet different as the story is filtered through the individual. The interpretations of each book, every story told, are limitless when read from the page. Touching, seeing, and hearing only confines the story to one telling of it. And where is the imagination in that?

What do you think? Will paper books always be around? Will they still have the power to pull people in? To make a reader want to hold onto them tightly, letting their own imagination take over, with no interruptions, and no one telling them what they should be experiencing?

Just when I start to think there’s no future for p-books, I find this video online today. And it gives me a little hope.

(Kudos to Julian Smith)

11 thoughts on “Don’t Bother Me, Dude. I’m Reading a Book.

  1. That video is brilliant. I, too, feel your pain. I was momentarily sucked in to using a Nook…and it only reaffirmed my love for the printed word on actual pages I can touch, feel, and turn. I see some value in electronic format (I would have given my right arm to not lug those college textbooks around), but I don’t want to see pBooks fade away. I think too many people feel this way for this to be allowed to happen.

    • Yep, I agree. I have a Kindle and an iPad, and I read books off of both of them. But I find myself gravitating back to non electronic reading. Give me a hardback any day – those are my first love.

  2. Fahrenheit 451 never anticipated ebooks. I wonder what the farenheit for plactic is? I plan on sharing this blog with our Language Arts Teachers.

    • Depends on the kind of plastic. Here’s what was posted on the “Wiki Answers” website: “PVC, polyvinyl chloride, melts at 212 °C (about 414 °F). Teflon®, which we use to coat cookware, is polytetrafluoroethene – PTFE, and it melts at 327 °C (about 621 °F).” So take your pick, 414 F or 621 F. But the iPad has a glass front. Excuse me while I go back to that site to check…For glass: “Glass”. World Book Encyclopedia 2000 ed.Chicago,IL. World Book Inc. 2000: Page. 215 “Melting: The mixture melts at 2600-2900 °F (1425-1600 °C) depending on its composition” 1425 – 1600 °C.” 1425 F! THAT’S hot!

  3. I did buy a kindle, and I do try to read on it, but…

    I still vastly prefer a paper book. My focus is better. It’s a nicer experience. The Kindle just feels…gray.

    I have not tried an iPad yet, and maybe that will change my mind, but so far, I’m still firmly in the paper book category.

    I like devices a lot, don’t get me wrong. And for a lot of things, I’ve gone strictly “e.” I don’t do any writing or editing on paper any more, and I don’t feel any need to. I like to collect the majority of my research materials electronically as well.

    But books? A book on a screen is work. A book that’s on paper is…a vacation.

    • Maybe that’s why I keep inching my way back to p-books. I also do all my writing work on the iPad. And I must admit that I have more fun working on that device than should be allowed. The only problem is that I’m starting to feel like my mother when we used to visit her when our kids were small. She’d follow them around with a bottle of Windex as they put their little hands on everything. “Fingerprints! Fingerprints!” I’m hoping that the next iPad upgrade is a “smudgeless” screen.

  4. seriously, Darlene, the thought of “real” books going away is very disheartening!! I’m already sad that our town has only one real “new book” store (aside from Costco!!) — I suppose children growing up without having spent the hours that ours did sitting on the floor of book stores browsing their favourite books (sometimes upside down) will never miss book stores and won’t be able to understand what all the fuss is about…..but there’s just something about having, touching, smelling a paper book that is so special. And you’re so right about paper books encouraging imagination while the animated books will not.

  5. You are so right, Lynne. I love our one “new book” store (It seems strange to call it that, but it IS, isn’t it?) but I miss the two Borders so much – the one in Santa Barbara, and the one in Goleta. They were like small village squares. People would meet there and exchange conversations and ideas. There were speakers, and book club meetings, students were being tutored, little children were being read stories. There was life going on with books at the heart of it. That atmosphere fostered community; there was a genuine connection between people. We are sociable animals – we need that. There are still coffee spots – Starbucks or Coffee Bean, but without the books, those places don’t feel as warm and comforting. Like early humans sitting around a fire, books give us that same kind of warmth.

  6. hahah I love reading books… and I mean real books! not the wannabe digital books :p

    Also, the song is so awesome! Thanks for sharing!

    P.S: 1 more week to get your submission in for The Uninspired Chronicles! 😀

    • Yes, I love that song as well as the video. That ‘s what motivated me to write this post. And I have to tell you that you are in the majority when you say you love reading “real” books. Thanks for letting us know about The Uninspired Chronicles. I’ll post a link to it as soon as I figure out how to do that. Good to see you!

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