Purge or preserve: How eBooks affect your personal library
By Lia on August 3rd, 2012
It’s no secret that we OOMers love books: talking about them, writing about them, borrowing them, collecting them. There’s just something really gratifying about seeing all the spines lined up on a shelf– a visual reminder of the countless subjects that we’ve been interested in over the years, classes we’ve taken, memories we want to preserve. Needless to say, I had a hard time jumping on the eReader bandwagon. It wasn’t even a question. No digital device could ever compare to the feeling of holding a real book.
And then, somewhere between my stubborn determination and my desire to re-read The Pillars of the Earth, I caved and bought a Kindle. I am a lover of print books and always will be, but I have to say the eReader certainly has its advantages (lighter purse, anyone?) The print books vs. eBooks debate is something we’ve tackled before on OOM, but I recently came across an article from Publishing Perspectives that raised an interesting question: Do eBooks lead you to purge or preserve your personal library?
It seems that as a society, we’re caught in a state of digital limbo. eReaders are still relatively new, and by no means have they replaced the need for or prevalence of print books. And yet, as tablets and eReaders grow increasingly popular, we can’t help but question the fate of print books. As you collect books on your Kindle or Nook or iPad, what becomes of your print books? Do you purge them to clear clutter and make space, both physically and emotionally? Or perhaps you gradually, almost imperceptibly, outgrow them the way children outgrow toys they’re too old for? Then there are those who hang onto their print books and savor them for years to come, maybe with intentions of passing them down to their children. (NPR poses that very question in an article titled, “Will Your Children Inherit Your eBooks?” Very interesting– be sure to check it out!)
When it comes to the effect eBooks have had on my personal library, I’m definitely a preserver, not a purger. Oftentimes I look at my bookshelf and think, Am I really going to re-read my sixth-grade copy of The Outsiders? (Not likely. Sorry, Ponyboy.) Or what about my paperback copy of Wuthering Heights since I just downloaded and read the free version on my Kindle? (Probably not.) Let’s not even talk about the fact that I own three copies of Pride & Prejudice– two print, and one digital. And yet, for some inexplicable reason, I can’t seem to give away any of my beloved print titles, even if I own duplicates.
The author of the Publishing Perspectives article faced a similar dilemma, and luckily he explains his thoughts a lot more eloquently than I can: “Why keep them? Loyalty to the printed book? No, fear that I’ll forget I wanted to read the book in the first place. Fear of losing whatever that particular print title represents to me. Fear that a house without print books will feel like less of a home to me. I was raised surrounded by books and hope to raise my daughter the same way.” Well said.
So how about you, OOM readers? When it comes to eBooks, do they cause you to purge or preserve your personal library? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Image via spykster
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