Tuesday, April 5, 2011

“Time to face the change. Ch-ch-ch-changes.”

Change doesn’t usually faze me. I embrace it, bring it on! After scratching through my address book close to thirty times, I’m accustomed to new places, people and things. My nomadic years started when I was six months old and my family moved where and when the Army wanted us to go. Unable to shake the wanderlust, I continued to move as an adult. Sometimes only across town but I had a need to pack and go, a desire for a change of scenery, a fresh start.

Maybe it’s motherhood, maybe (gulp) age. But, my resilience to change seems to be waning. I’m at one of my favorite Barnes & Noble’s at the moment. It’s convenient to my daughter’s school and it’s three levels, three levels of stacks and stacks of books. This reader/writer’s heaven.

The change when I first walked in took my breath away. A third of the first floor book stacks have been removed and tables displaying the Nook have taken their place. Now, on the whole, if people buy the Nook and continue to buy books, I’m fine with that. I have a Kindle and have bought more books in the last year than I ever have in a year. It’s the instant thing. I get a recommendation, see something I like mentioned on Twitter or elsewhere, and I buy it right then and there. In the past, I’d jot a note, probably lose the note and forget about the recommendation. That change is good!

But, there’s still something special about getting lost in a maze of books, pulling one off the shelf because it looks interesting. Dropping to the floor, sitting cross-legged and flipping through the pages. Feeling, smelling, seeing. So maybe that’s it. It’s a multi-sensory thing.

So there it is. E-books fulfill my need for instant gratification and printed books provide a multi-sensory experience. I want both! So, as long as this change doesn’t mean the end of printed books, I think I’ll be okay.

What are your thoughts on life as we know it in the world of books. The change is here to stay. How will you cope?

Happy April!


(BTW – I took a little poetic license with my title. I believe the correct version of Bowie’s lyric is “Turn and face the strain. Ch-ch-changes.”


  1. I,like you, feel that e-readers are fine. Just don't even THINK about taking away my real books. E-books have their place (not in my house, but whatever) I know kids like them, and self pub folks. But nothing could ever replace the feeling of a real, paper book in my hands. Or the smell of them. Or the timeless beauty of multi-hued spines lined up on a bookshelf.

  2. Similar thing happened to me in a Borders last year (before official wind of the bankruptcy). All the barren floor space, the kiosk areas, and the missing presence of books ... I came home feeling very, very sad. I have not yet adopted the e-book, for I am a paper and ink girl through and through. But hubby is getting an iPad this week, so I will at least "try" it. I like your insight that there will always be a need for both media. But, my, how that changes the landscape of once overflowing bookstores -- agree that the former experience was tactile and sensory. Won't be so much any more, I'm afraid.

  3. Thanks for visiting, ladies. I felt silly at the time, dabbing my eyes over the displaced books but now I see I'm not alone. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. Whether we want it to or not, ebooks are on the rise. I remember (I'm old, super old) the day when CD's came out. My friends and I were shocked, who would be something that could so easily be scratched and ruined forever? Nope, tape cassettes were the best! I had boxes and boxes of cassette tapes back then.

    Today, I don't even own one. My CD collection is dwindling too as I now buy iTunes. Nothing tangible to hold.

    I own a Kindle (Christmas present this past year) and I was worried how I would like it. Well, I love it. It's convenient. BUT, I still buy books too, especially books on writing or manuals. I like to actually hold those and mark them up.

    I was surprised too when I went into B&N and found shelves removed. It took me by surprise. I LOVE B&N for the smell and feel--sensory love. But the times they are a changing. We can't stop it. All we can kinda do is flow with it, I guess.


  5. You're so right. Digital books in some format are here to stay so we might as well embrace it. If it comes to it (but I don't think it will) I'll just have to stack all my paper books next to my albums and cassette tapes. Yes, I still have boxes of those :). Thanks for the visit!

  6. I was so happy on a recent trip to PA to find a two-story Borders! I only saw one small sign of e-readers, which surprised me--but lots and lots of paper books. There weren't too many people there, but I saw a few kids carrying books to buy, which greatly encouraged me. Still, times are definitely changing; I just bought a Kindle, something I never, ever thought I'd do! While I'm not sure I'm embracing it, it definitely gives me more freedom to take multiple books, etc., with me... (but as a writer I still haven't sorted out how exactly I feel)

  7. Thanks for stopping by Julia! Aren't those multi-level bookstores divine? Of course, I also love little nook bookstores with a few overstuffed chairs and lots of history. Really anywhere with books I guess :) :)

  8. I haven't been able to make the change. I am resisting.....a hold out! :)

  9. Ebooks will have a place but I love the smell and feel of paper. Have tried reading ebooks on my iPad but it just does not feel right. Maybe I am a dinosaur.

  10. I wandered over here from your link at Writers Unboxed. This post is a topic that has been on my mind. I saw an ad for the Kindle that used as a selling point that you wouldn't have to go to the bookstore! I was horrified. I mean, yes, I don't mind the ebooks and how they can let us read more and many other great things, but not go to a bookstore? One reason I live in a city is so that I can go to bookstores. And I resent people who tell me to "get with the times." I find that response cold and thoughtless.

    Oh, and I did used to work in a bookstore. I loved talking to customers about books. You don't get that on an e-reader.

  11. Hi mapelba! Thanks so much for popping over from WU. It's a great group. I'm hoping to get more involved but I do read most of the posts and the chats are always valuable :)

    Re ebooks. I totally agree .. to me books are something to talk about! I almost want to ditch my kindle if they are advertising like that :(. Shame. Hopefully the many bookstore lovers won't let them fade away.

    Thanks for the comment and I'll check out your blog asap!


  12. MB and Col. Nothing wrong with 'old school' :) :)

  13. As an author myself, I'm more concerned with digital rights in relation to publishers. Maybe attentive is the right term because I also embrace change and will do whatever the market dictates is wise, however events unfold. So...digital rights. Right now, the big fear is if a book never really goes out of print, exactly when do the rights revert to the author? Whether old-school books are better or worse than e-readers? I'm 44 and am ashamed to say I haven't missed books a bit. Because of the immediacy of purchases and the ability to take my bookshelf with me anywhere. Oh...and I can read at night without the light on. I don't like traditional book lights, either. I'm solidly in the e-book corner. Besides, the soft glow of an e-reader on a reader's focused and sometimes emotive face is comforting to me. Like seeing the birth of what future generations will find nostalgic.