Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dead Trees and Electrons, or Book Polygamy

I love books.

I don't want to send the wrong message with yesterday's post. Remaindered books are not sad for the reader at all. It's just the gluttony of publishing which bothers me. I buy plenty of clothing from the clearance racks, so I guess I should get over it, huh?

At Hastings (I was a book manager in Lawrence years ago), we called them "hurt books". That was the official company title: hurt books. Hardbacks were code 51, trade paperbacks 55, mass markets, 50, and "hurt books" 54.

Sounds a little sad, doesn't it? Hurt books. They weren't wounded at all.

My wife gave me a Kindle for my birthday. I love it. I love the number of books I've been able to slap on that bad boy for a few bucks. I love changing the font size so my eyes don't strain at all. I love the built-in dictionary. I don't love the highlighter so much. (So, how do I turn off other people's highlights?)

But I love physical books, and I always will. Here's the other end of the spectrum: I've recently joined the Library of America. If you're unfamiliar, they produce high quality, durable editions of classic American literature. So far, I've received American Fantastic Tales (2-volume set), Raymond Carver: Collected Stories, and H.P. Lovecraft Tales. I'll have these books for a lifetime of reading. Poe, Shirley Jackson, Raymond Carver, and Langston Hughes are all in the queue.

There is a place for the e-reader and my love for real, tangible books, but I'm past my e-fears, folks. E-reading is here (in my life) to stay, just like those beautiful, cloth bound LoA editions.

Now, I just need a set of sweet digital bookends...

10 comments:

Barry Napier said...

Glad you got the Kindle. I don't think I'm going t be able to fight the urge mush longer myself...

Aaron Polson said...

Barry, now that you're a "Kindle Author" I highly recommend it. Great little tool.

Katey said...

I could not agree more with everything you just said. Ever.

the gluttony of publishing
That is so, so the name for it. It drives me nuts too. It's like I hate the very principles behind publisher-bookseller relations (on both ends!) but... want... books...

Aaron Polson said...

Katey - I try to get away, but they keep sucking me back in!

Rabid Fox said...

It's kind of like finding out how hotdogs are made. I didn't need to see what the bad man does to the books that don't sell.

Natalie L. Sin said...

If books are being sold and read, it's a good thing : )

Aaron Polson said...

Gef - I'll close my eyes and just shove the 'dogs in. ;)

Natalie - Hear, hear!

Danielle Ferries said...

I agree with you too. Although I still can't bring myself to buy a Kindle.

craighallam said...

Have to admit, I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to my own writing. I'll definately use e-pubs at some point but I wont be truly satisfied with myself until I've got a solid book on a shelf somewhere (even if I have to make it out of spent toilet rolls and crayon the title myself).
Still, I have Kindle on my phone and absolutely love having a book with me everywhere I go. It's the future!

Cate Gardner said...

I can't believe I was anti-ebooks for so long. Love, love, love, my kindle. Although my 'to read' pile is far prettier.

Aww, and those books weren't hurt they were defiant and determined to be noticed at whatever price. (And I bet someone loved them).