5.9.10

Dear Kindle (Nook & Associates): You Will NEVER Light My Fire.

Dear Kindle (as well as Nook & Associates):

I thought you should know there is nothing quite like the smell of an old book.

I was in a store today called Nell Hill's that was overflowing with them. They were all from the same old library, complete with stamped cards inside their slots. I paused every few minutes to gently tip one forward from its row, like a soldier out of line. I cradled him and ran my hands slowly over his spine and worn cover. Then I opened him up, lifted him slowly to my face and inhaled deeply. I absorbed the words by osmosis and smelled the souls of a thousand kindred spirits. It felt like coming home.

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I wondered where the book had been. Whose knapsack he had traveled in. How many hands had touched him. Who had fingered his yellowed pages while tucked in bed, or hunched over a desk, or sitting on a bench in the park. How many miles had he traveled, what exotic places had he seen, had he unwillingly been taken into someone's bathroom and suffered some indignities there?

My books are my best friends. I am proud to display them on my shelves. I can't have enough of them. I know where each one resides and I can't bear to part with any of them.

So many books...sometimes it seems to me that everything has already been said; all the world's stories have already been told. Where does that leave me? Is there anything unique left to be written? Can I possibly create something new, interesting, and different?

Ultimately Kindle, Nook, & Associates--- you are far too impersonal for the likes of me. You don't have a scent. You lack substance. You're too mechanical. You're not real. You haven't got a history I can feel, smell, and touch. I can't put bookplates on you. I can't lend you to friends and get you back with a sweet note tucked inside. I can't press flowers between your pages or stack you in towering heaps on my bedside table. When and if I write my masterpiece, I don't want it to be available exclusively by download. I want it to be concrete. I want it to rest in a tall pile on your nightstand, nestled between classics like To Kill A Mockingbird and Leaves of Grass.

Therefore, Kindle, I cannot and will never love you.

The End.

70 comments:

blueviolet said...

I feel much the same way. There's just something about holding a book and hearing the sound of the pages as you turn them. There's nothing like it.

Aimee said...

i LOVE this!!!
i went to Barnes & Noble today and i can EASILY pass right by the electronic book section which you practically trip over through the front door. The REAL books are my BEST friends!!! I own hundreds and will never let them go and i will keep buying them, used, new, old, really old, i LOVE them!!
awesome post!!
aimee

MiMi said...

I have a Kindle and I love it.
However, I will ALWAYS have a love affair with books. LOVE them. They are one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world. After my kids. :)

GunDiva said...

I love my nook. I just love it differently than I love books. I love the smell and feel of books; I love cracking the spine on a brand new book; I love picking up one of my old favorites and feeling their well-worn pages. Books will always have an important place in my heart - they are in no danger of being replaced by my nook.

However - the nook is convenient and I never run out of reading material. She's easy to take on a plane and easy to stick in my purse. I always finish a book with ten minutes left until boarding and have to run and buy a new one - never have to worry about that with my nook.

It's okay - you can love them both. Just love them differently.

fanderson said...

I LOVE books and I still order hardbacks!! I thought I was alone!! My hubby tried to sell me on the Ipad and books on that and I said NO Thank You! I love checking out books and my kids have had their library cards since they were like 3!! We read! read! and read again! I collect all my favorite books and like you I love knowing that my kids can pick up shakespeare in my living room, Ken Follet in room, Joel Olsteen in my guest bedroom!! I have all their kid favorite stories to pass on their kids in a huge chest!! Love your post! :)

MarKat said...

Ironically, you label the paperless written word as "too mechanical," without a "scent" and something less valuable than the "real" thing. Taking the argument to its logical conclusion, one might understand your position to be: "The words I (the Mother Load) write in this space are less valuable than anything written on actual paper."

Sorry, but given the words I've read in this scentless space,I cannot agree.

Additionally, there is the whole "the unknown masses leaving their cooties all over the book" thing to consider.

MarKat said...

Oh yeah, and Kindles save paper thereby helping the environment...

McGillicutty said...

Amen to that. The Kindle might be good for travelling but then again who has time to read when you're out there sucking up the culture and taking pics?????? Well said my friend.

Katy said...

Yes! I actually hear this sentiment a lot from other bloggers. It's funny, we like our virtual world, but we also like the concrete one. We need both.

Cherry Woodburn said...

Hey Erin,

Enjoyed your post. I too like winding my way around the library and book store and get tired of looking at a screen. That being said, I did enjoy your post electronically so...
Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Cherry

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

One thing that Oregon is known for is this awesome book store called Powell's Books. Downtown, it's a four story building with a map to point the way. They sell new and used.

There is a Powell's 5 minutes away from my house and for the first time today, I walked in and breathed in the smell of the books. I was like a kid at Disneyland. I so love the smell and touch of books. Kindle just won't do for me. I love turning the pages.

So, yes, I understand exactly what you're saying.

Kate said...

As a fairly new Kindle user, I agree and disagree. The experience of sitting in the dusty rows of an old bookstore has no comparison, and the smell of a town library still means something to me. That being said, if I love a book, I love it in both paper and electronic forms, since the words are still the same. And yes, I love the immediacy of the Kindle. There's something to be said about instant gratification. :-)

Raoulysgirl said...

I absolutely agree!!! I don't think you can "curl up" with a good Kindle the way that you can a good book. It just doesn't have the same feel.

On a side note...Tacha has really started to love some of the old classics. You mentioned "To Kill A Mockingbird"...that's one that I can't wait for her to read. I know she will love it. However, I am torn about what age she will be able to understand the subject matter. I know she's not ready for it yet...but will be glad when the day comes. She finished "Where the Red Fern Grows" over the summer and is re-reading it now. It's awesome to have your kiddos become old enough to share your love of books. I don't want her to miss the "real" deal!!!!

Mindy said...

We don't have any good used book stores near us and I loved going into one at home a few times during our visit. I love sharing a passion for books with my husband and we actually had minor disagreements about whose copy of particular books to keep when we got married (some we have two of). I love the smell of books and think the way you describe them is delicious. I delight in finding lovely copies of Jane Eyre, although I haven't done this for years. Since being away from used books stores, however, I have learned to use the library more, rather than buy, and I'm loving it. It saves space in my home and there's no risk/cost if I dislike it! I use interlibrary loan like crazy. As for the Kindle, I'm torn. I would hate for the traditional book to go to the wayside (Like Chocolate Covered Daydreams, I adore Powell's), but I also love the technology of having multiple books at your fingertips.

Colleen said...

I agree. To a degree. I'm in love with books. The feel, the smell; I could wonder through bookstores for weeks. All those parts, I totally agree with.

But.

I LOVE my Nook, too. I just love it all.

Grimmgirl said...

I'm reading Justin Cronin's The Passage right now, a big fat book that you've got to prop up on yourself to read. I was anxious to get through the 700+ pages quickly, so I could send it to my mom for when she comes out, via her 3-day train trip, to see me in Nov. She said, "Oh, I'll just download it to Kindle." Totally not the same!

purseblogger said...

Okay, I admit, I have a Kindle and I love it! But, I do feel the same way you do about books. There is nothing like picking up a book and diving into another world. I will always love books but I do love how the Kindle works, that you can get the book in less than 60 seconds and be reading away. It's a toss up for me.

The Empress said...

Erin, I've tried to like Kindle. People were so convincing that I would.

BUt I just couldn't. I don't know, they had me thinking I would.

With so many people loviong it, it must just be a different personality type that doesn't, don't you think???

Excellent post. Excellent.

Alisha said...

Oh yeah, I totally agree. Something about physically holding a book brings forth more of a connection to it and the characters. It makes it seem more real. I'm afraid with 3 boys and a concrete floor, a Kindle is a no go for me.. unless I win one from Pioneer Woman. Then I might become a Closet Kindle-er. Probably not, though.

MamaOnDaGo said...

Was just remembering the times when I volunteered at a library during high school. Like every young teenager, I took for granted the days of trying to hunt down a book. I often enjoyed finding little treasures in my borrowed books: a note, words written in the margins, a bookmark.

Anastasia said...

I feel the exact same way. I am honestly scared that it will be the end of real books. Have you seen that kids commercial where they say "There use to be books, now there's 'This-stupid-thing' " can't remember the brand. I do not want my kids reading a computer before bedtime. Scary!

Merri Ann said...

I haven't tried the Kindle for the exact reason you have described. As a person who moves a lot, one of the worst things to move is books. So we don't hang on to books.

You might think the library is the obvious choice for this household, but we pass all our completed books on to my parents who not only live on a limited income but don't have access to a library.

So the obvious choice is a Kindle? Still not. Like you said ... there is the charm of a passed on book ... the book plate ... the list of family and friends who each initialled the and dated the inside cover before passing it on to the next person ... the note left for the next reader ...

In my book ... it still can't compare.

TKW said...

I feel the same way about books. My husband asked me if I wanted a Kindle and I looked at him like he was a lunatic.

Ash said...

If they could bottle that beloved library smell, I would dab it behind my ears.

I can't say "never" to a Kindle though - the thought of having so many deliciously written words at my fingertips is really too good to ignore. But I'm a strong holdout - for sure.

Tracie said...

I do love bookstores but I think a Kindle is convenient for traveling. (Not that I have one. Yet.)

Mama Zen said...

Amen!

Gigi said...

I don't have one but I think I'd be torn. I love books but for convenience and the environment...maybe they can peacefully coexist?

I don't think books will ever go away completely. I hope not, anyway!

Andrea (ace1028) said...

Great post. I'm one who is a hold-out, hanging on to my books for dear life. I can't imagine not having the pages to leaf through, and the experience of the book and judging it (or not) by its cover.

But the Kindle/Nook become appealing now and then. Only because I often wonder if I get more books, which I always, ALWAYS do, where on EARTH will I keep them? Paperbackswap has helped me recycle the ones I won't read again or hold onto for sentimental reasons, but some, well, where do they belong? I fear if I ever do go the electronic reading way, I'll do BOTH. GASP! And then what will happen? ;)

Sally G. said...

Good morning Erin and wonderful commenters! I'll preface by saying that I have not given E-book Readers a fair chance ~ for all the reasons you've beautifully stated in your post Erin.

When I was young, going to the Library was a special weekly event thanks to my Mom. She'd take my siblings and I and allow us up to 5 books each! Choosing the PERFECT 5 books was such a glorious assignment, I've carried that joy with me to this day.

When my daughters were younger - I replicated the experience as best I could for them. We'd go to Story-Times, we'd do our own Story-Times, books and reading was such an integral part of their growing up experience.

Both my younger daughter and I smell books before reading them ~ I loved reading here that we're not alone in that.

I've written Blog Posts in the past where I've conversed with some of my favourite book characters as I would a best friend. Asking them, why did you make the choices you did? What motivated the love you held for your child? Do you ever wonder about the path you walked away from? Etc.

I am so grateful to have found your post here today, thank you. Books and Libraries evoke the most wondrous feelings within me.

Quirkyloon said...

You know what my concern is about a kindle?

My eyes!

My eyes have already suffered from so much computer time.

So for me? E-books are not cornea friendly!

hee hee

Sparkling said...

Absolutely!!! And, I'm with qUIRKYMOM-- what happens when they decide that reading on Kindle's did horrible damage that can't be repaired????

Michelle @ The Virtual Assistant said...

Totally agree on electronic books. The only time I would **possibly** make an exception is when I am traveling (because I don't like the weight of 10 books in my luggage).

I've tried to read a book on the iPad but there is something for me where I most enjoy being able to hold, and turn, paper pages.

Shelly Kramer said...

Oh Erin, what a lovely post. And ignore the haters. There is always someone who wants to shove your thoughts where the sun doesn't shine and, in my humble opinion, they are malcontents who just like to stir up trouble.

Books are lovely. Treasures. Wonderful, tangible things. I don't want to live without them. And yet, I do more than my share of important things to help save trees.

Like you, I write a blog and do many things in the online space. But yet, when something, like a blog post that someone writes, is so important to me that I want to treasure it, I print it, and put it with the rest of my treasures. That doesn't do anything to diminish its value - simply because it's written online.

Never forget: when someone is clearly just looking for a fight and spreading meanness -- just stop to consider the source.

Also, I read many, many things on my iPad, so there's definitely a value to devices like it, the Kindle, etc. But when it comes to the important stuff - the work I want to dive into, escape with, share with other book lovers, etc., only the Real McCoy will do.

Thanks for writing such a beautiful post that clearly touched a chord with so many of us. Books are one of life's little miracles, let's proudly treasure them, shall we?

Thanks again for a wonderful post!!!

Shelly
@shellykramer
http://v3im.com

Elaine A. said...

It if so fun and interesting to wonder where the books in the library or second-hand store have been.

My SIL would love this post. She's a book collector and an avid reader.

And I agree, no kindle for me!

twelvedaysold said...

That's what I'm talking about! There is something so wonderful about a hard copy book.

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

It is a lot easier to read what's written on good old paper. I'm amazed we all can read so many blogs!

Nancy C said...

Erin, I totally agree. With one exception. I would love for school textbooks to go electronic. So much expense and time and energy is wasted on keeping track of textbooks in schools. Such a waste of paper, too.

Granted, keeping track of a Kindle would be a paradigm shift, too. Hmmm...

I love bookstores. Holy places.

Aging Mommy said...

I have never even considered a Kindle - for me it would be rather like eating a toffee with the wrapper still on, to read a book electronically. I love books, just going out and buying one or sifting through the library selections is pure pleasure for me.

Imaginative Me said...

I have to totally agree with you here. I love books! I still have books I've never read because I cannot bear to part with them! Books rock!

Erin said...

@blueviolet---exactly! I don't think Kindles have sound effects, do they? & even if they did, it wouldn't be the same...

@Aimee--I feel exactly the same way. I could spend HOURS upon HOURS in any bookstore...

@MiMi---wait, you love your kids more than reading? LOL

@GunDiva--so glad you love them both!

@fanderson---oooooh, did you say "hardbacks?" DELISH!

@MarKat---blogs and books are not the same. Totally different animals. So your conclusion isn't logical to me.

@McGillicutty---Thank you, my dear!

@katy--we do need both. And my blog is not the same species as a good book I pick up to get lost in. Just different things, you know?

@CherryWoodburn--thank you so much for stopping by, and yes! I could spend forever in a library or a bookstore...so much to take in.

@ChocolateCOveredDaydreams---There's a used bookstore here that I adore and spend a lot of time (and $$$!) in. I love being green as you know, so buying used is wonderful, too!

@Kate---I totally understand and respect your point of view. Thanks so much for coming by & commenting! Maybe some day I'll be more open to the electronic instant gratification, but for right now I love reaching over to my nightstand and grabbing something from my stack!

@Raoulysgirl---how cool that you can already share your love of the written word with your kiddos! Mine aren't reading yet...I can't wait for that day!

@Mindy---I wish my husband liked to read. Oh well. Maybe someday?!!?

@Colleen--we can wander together, ok? Name the place & time. Will be there! ;-)

@Grimmgirl---EXACTLY! "not the same." EXACTLY!

@purseblogger---I had no idea you had a Kindle and loved it. Maybe we can't be friends anymore?

@The Empress--perhaps you're better than I because I haven't even bothered to TRY the Kindle. I just can't bear it.

@Alisha---I feel you. I have twin girls and hardwood floors. I drop my cell phone constantly and it's totally taken a beating many times. A Kindle wouldn't survive long at my house anyway!

@MommaOnDaGo---yes, the little treasures get me every time. I have found so many old things in my books that were tucked away long ago....

Erin said...

@Anastasia---the end of books...I don't wanna think about it!

@Merri Ann--Love that you pass your books along. I do that sometimes, too!

@TKW--my hubs asked me once, too. now he knows better!

@Ash--consider me a hold out with you.

@Tracie--I don't travel much, so I don't worry about that part...

@MamaZen--yes!

@GiGi---if they go completely away, so will I.

@Andrea---the paperbackswap thing is a great idea!

@Sally_G--I have fond memories of the library as well and should take my kids there more often.

@Quirky & @Sparkling---my eyes are already bad enough, so I'm with you!

@Michelle--I adore those paper pages as well. Le sigh!

@ShellyKramer--like you, I do plenty of things that are good for the environment. I dry my clothes on a rack, I shop local/organic, I compost, I grow my own herbs & tomatoes, and loads of other things...and I print out the important things as well. :-)

@ElaineA---woohoo, we're in the same camp!

@twelvedaysold---Yes, I think I'm a very tactile person. Hence, books.

@Joey---my poor eyes. I am on a computer enough as is.

@NancyC---bookstores are indeed holy places. but you're onto something w/ the textbooks. I guess I'd have to agree with you there. But back when I was a student, I think I'd still prefer an actual book in front of me to study from.

@AgingMommy--I've never considered one either...shame on me?

@ImaginativeMe--Right on, sister! Books do rock!

Jason, as himself said...

Exactly! I need to hold it and feel the pages.

Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) said...

Oh yes, I'm a page turner too! I don't think I could get on board with a kindle either but that is funny what Joey said about us being able to read all these blogs:)

I love going to the library and getting "real" books and I love it when my son comes home from Kindergarten with his chosen book of the week, stamped card and all:)

Chelle said...

I have been saying this ever since I started hearing people rave about their "e-readers". Seriously? I don't get the excitement of them.

I love browsing at bookstores, libraries...anywhere with books. I love the feel of the paper between my fingers. I love occasionally having to dog ear a page here and there. I love the smell of the paper.

So glad that I'm not the only one who loves books--and what a fabulous post!

xoxo

Cluttered Brain said...

I don't even know what it is like to own a kindle. It's just plain old book reading and blog reading for me!!!
Excellent written post BTW.
And thanks for tweeting my Surrogacy post out. i appreciate it!

Salt said...

I just had this conversation with my husband in Best Buy the other day. He was asking me if maybe I might like one for Christmas and I thought about it for a minute and told him no...I'd much rather hold a book in my hands when I read it. I look at a computer screen for at least 8 hours every day. When I read a book, it's supposed to be a rest from that.

Helene said...

My sister tried to tempt me with her Kindle one day. She showed me how it worked and it did seem intriguing but there is something about being able to hold the actual book, turning the pages, the scent of the books...I totally agree.

SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB said...

you tell 'em girl. books virtually LITER my home. they are in every room, nook, and cranny. we have a used book store w/in walking distance from my house. someday when my daughter doesn't wreck their store every time i go in, i am going to spend HOURS there and spend lots of money i don't have.

SoccerMom said...

I am so with you on this. Initially I was all excited about this. The sportsman was even willing to buy me one. Then the more I thought about it, I like my old books sitting on my book shelf.
I like collecting them and being able to walk by and grab one to re read whenever I choose.

I am all for all other things electronic but just not this!

T said...

hmmmm... I am TOTALLY with you on the impersonal thing and the smell of a book thing.

the "taken into a bathroom" thing is one of the reasons I have spent FAR too much on books instead of being a good library patron. (I'm doing better - I want the librarian to be my BFF by November :))

Arizona Mamma said...

I most certainly couldn't have said it better myself. I'm also a page folder. My husband hates it...but I am. Always will be. Kindle would ruin that for me. No thanks!

P.S. There is plenty of room for you. Your voice should be heard. So get a move on! I'd proudly bend the pages of any book you write.

Two Normal Moms said...

I can never love a Kindle either. Nothing will replace the feel of a book in my hands, the turning of real pages as I anticipate the next line of the story...

Ally

Stef said...

YEs! Yes!! Yes!! How can you enjoy a book without turning an actual page. I have a book app on my phone but I can't bare to actually purchase and read a book on it. Something about actually holding the work of another in my hands. Amazing!

From Tracie said...

Hallelujah!! Someone else that understands! It seems that we are a quickly shrinking group, the ones who pick up a book and pet it lovingly, caressing the leaves and inhaling the smell of glorious...BOOK! There is nothing more wonderful than the smell of a book. (I said this to my husband the other day and he told me I was crazy, but when my daughter piped up from the back seat of the car that she smelled a book once and it was nice....my heart smiled and I knew that she really is MY daughter!)

I could never turn to one of these cold electronic things....I need the warmth and feel of a REAL book.

I am a book-o-holic. I love them. I buy them. I read and re-read them. I share them with friends. I count them as my friends. I need them. Books complete me.

Amy Oscar said...

Books are my best friends, too - and my best teachers.

From the day when, age 5, I walked hand- in- hand with my mom to the library on Arrandale Avenue, the magical day when the children's librarian told me, "You can take home a many books as you like," I was transformed. Here was a different world - where I sat for hours, surrounded by stacks of cellophane bound picture books, drinking and drinking and drinking in 'story' 0 the elixir that feeds me still.

One day, dear Erin, you will write us a book, and we will open it's cover and there will be that book smell. beautiful post and your evocative way of capturing a moment.

Amy Oscar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erinsgobragh said...

I love books the feel of them in my hand. Turning the pages. My mom instilled in me to read a book very carefully. I always make sure I never crease the spine on a book. I never dog ear the pages. I also always have to own the books I read to add to my collection lol. I'm a book snob! Kindle does nothing for me.

sidewaysthink said...

Yeah. Not a fan of Kindle. Don't think I will ever be a fan. It's just not the same.

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

Totally agree- I would never curl up with a kindle.

Jungla said...

Until the Kindle came out I never realised how many people smell books.

Make your point another way. The reason I keep my books is because I am vain and I like writing in my books and looking through them.

"fingering your yellow pages". That's a great turn of phrase.

Thanks,

Patrick

www.Jungla.co.uk

Jungla said...

Until the Kindle came out I never realised how many people smell books.

Make your point another way. The reason I keep my books is because I am vain and I like writing in my books and looking through them.

"fingering your yellow pages". That's a great turn of phrase.

Thanks,

Patrick

www.Jungla.co.uk

Michelle Pixie said...

I couldn't agree more! I love my collection of books and I couldn't imagine not being able to pass that down to my girls. :)

Cristy said...

My husband is the EXACT same way! I wanted to get him a kindle for his medical school graduation gift and he BEGGED me NOT to. He got biggest bookworm in high school and his HATED not being able to read with all his studying lately. I thought this would be a wonderful gift, but he says that he keeps every book he reads for a reason. AND, he says that he thinks it's sad that you can't give the books to other people. He says that's the best part of reading: sharing the books.

Joyce Cherrier said...

Oh Erin how I adore books. I always wanted to have one of those huge libraries like in Disney's Beauty & the Beast. Great post and so glad that there are so many of us left!

Patty@NYC Girl at Heart said...

I agree with you 100%...I will never love or own a kindle! Love it!

Mae Rae said...

Amen to that! i myself am a big book lover and could not ever think that something electronic will ever replace the sound of the page turning or the feel of beach sand falling from the pages inbetween.

Thank you for having this post.

scargosun said...

I a totally agree with you although I have been considering using one on the sly. Some books won't fit in my purse.

DaisyGal said...

I love books too...much like houses I like the character of them...and I know that I could never really be without my favorites, looking out at me while I sit on the couch, reminding me that I took a great journey with those words inside their spine.

but when I saw my mom's Nook, all those books in one place, I have to admit , I think I could love both....love my books and my nook....but I don't have one yet, so what do I know ??? LOL

Adrienne said...

My husband and boys got me a kindle for my bday this past June. I have to say I do LOVE it! For many reasons. However, this post is all too true. I love my old worn, ratty, passed around books too. ;)

Tough Cookie Mommy said...

I have considered buying a Nook or a Kindle for a long time. However, it feels as if I am somehow doing something wrong by buying. As a writer, I prescribe to the theory that we are immortalized by our writing. I suppose people will still read what we wrote for all eternity despite the fact that it is in the form of an electronic book. The thing is that there is no substitute for the feel, smell, and emotion that comes from holding a book in your hands and immersing yourself in its pages. I'm still on the fence about whether I will ever buy any of these products but, I can tell you one thing, they will never replace books in my heart.

 

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