Over the past few weeks, I read a few articles stating that printed books are coming back. According to the Association of American Publishers, e-book sales have declined while printed book sales have increased in recent years. Does this new data mean that printed books are old and coming back in style?
No. Printed books are not old fashioned or a new hip accessory. As a writer and a student, I spend most of my time at the library. I love the smell, feel and the very essence of printed books. Something about holding printed material makes me feel connected to the author. When I walk into the bookstore or library I feel surrounded by creativity.
As you can imagine, I was ecstatic after seeing this recent trend for printed material. I don’t think printed books were ever going to dissipate, but I did think our society’s love for reading would.
My worry is there will be a generation of children that don’t understand how important books are. Reading the words from a screen does not show children the beauty that goes into publishing a book. As a child, I read my favorite book until the cover ripped. Then I taped it and read it again.
Even though I let many people borrow it, this book has remained on my bookshelf all these years. This is the type of connection I fear will be lost with e-readers and e-books. Children can’t share their favorite story at school, with friends, or with future generations if they are not printed.
Each style of publishing has its pros and cons, and I doubt either will fail. While e-books are great platforms for self-published and new authors, I don’t long to hold an e-reader in my hand. But I often search for a new book to connect with and add to my collection.
Printed books have always been here and they always will. If the books themselves have never left, did we leave them? Yes, we have. As a society, we have left our books in the dust of our fast-paced lives. So, this summer you can find me relaxing on a bench nose deep in a book. I hope you’ll do the same.
Printed books never left us, we left them- B.N. Grace