Sunday, 20 September 2009

Traditional or Electronic

The holiday is over and reading the first book by the late Stieg Larsson called The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. A friend recommended this book to me, so as I was in the land of Barnes and Noble, I searched and found. It is a fascinating book, written to hold your attention with detailed care. The pace, while it plods steadily on, leaves you persistently glued to see what the stars do next.

To me, acquiring new books is like acquiring treasure and the wonders of what you would find once you turn the first page. I love books - who doesn't? - and the smell of a new book is like that new perfume you covet, that new-leather smell of those killer shoes, that bright shiny spark of a new lipstick shade from your favourite brand of cosmetics. In fact, to be perfectly honest, I get more of a rush from shopping for a new book than I would with other items, you know, like clothes, shoes, etc.

Of course, I don't randomly buy books. Most of my book buying is with purpose - some are accidental. There are many books out there that I simply do not bother with, let alone look at or even touch in my quest of finding that book. I am sure this applies to many people - my mother-in-law is a classic example. Unless its got fluffy romance and a happy ending, she'll not think twice about reading it. Violence and graphic action are things she will recoil at and curdle her blood...which means my own book may never be read by her. Ah well, I'm hoping the romance side will sell it to her.

Until recently, the main choice has only ever been traditional books: crisp, clean paper bound together by the printers into neat and convenient little compact reading tablets that is the sliced-bread wonder since man first scratched on a wall with a rock. It's every writers dream to get published and see their books bound together as such and displayed for all to see and read. I am no exception.

During my quest for finding a publisher, it was automatic that I sought out a traditional publisher. After all, when you think 'book', you immediately think of that rectangle slab of bound paper with a pretty cover and a come hither title to catch your eye.

But there's an alternative.

Electronic books! The other sliced-bread wonder since man invented email.

The more I researched about them and the more websites I clicked onto that offered electronic books, the more appealing they became to me. I became hooked and eventually, I made a decision to actively seek out said e-book publishers. After all, not everyone can nip across to the nearest bookstore and spend a couple hours browsing through their shelves looking for books, as appealing as that may sound. Practically everyone has a computer tucked away in some corner of their house or permanently affixed to their lap. And everyone loves to browse the internet. Eventually, reading from a screen gives you more comfort than it does from reading off a piece of paper. Of course, there are the die-hards that still love a book to be a book, me included. But times are changing, and so are books.

My decision to opt for an electronic book was not disappointing. A few people have criticized my decision (the die-hards) mostly because they see e-books as crappy little efforts by equally crappy little wannabes and feel marketing themselves small on the internet is the only way they would ever sell their books. That may be true to some extent, but not entirely. So many well-written books by solid writers choose electronic publishing, and quite a number of them end up being published by traditional publishers. Even the old favourite classics are now finding themselves being converted to electronic format for the mass market to read via the e-book reader - a must-have device if you are expected to function in this rapidly developing technological age.

And now that I have acquired just such a device, I have now taken to trolling through the many websites and online stores that offer e-books from the comfort of my own home. I can pore over book blurbs, even read excerpts and reviews before I make the decision to buy, and without a suspicious looking store clerk looking over at me from a counter wondering if I plan to stay the whole day and read the book without paying or have intentions of nicking it. We've all gotten that look as we spend a tad too long pondering over the decision to buy a book or not, to the extent the clerk wanders over under the guise of 'can I help you?'. No, just browsing now leave me the eff alone!

But now, book buying has become that much more appealing.

I now have to get used to the crisp new smell of moulded plastics and digital fumes.

No comments:

Post a comment