One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I do love reading on my Kindle. It’s physically easier (especially when I’m lying in bed), and faster. So why is it that I still would rather own the book? I’m mean, I’m well on my way to having a book storage problem (again). So … why? Help me, Obi-Wan.

Well, I think I’ve figured it out. It’s because book ownership is a two-part process for me.

There’s the reading, yes. The knowledge I gain. The enjoyment in a good story. The wonder of being surprised by something.

When I am done reading, there’s an additional, secondary pleasure of putting the book on the shelf (in the fiction section or the nonfiction section, and there are further divisions, I’m just keeping it simple here, folks). Also admiring it, recommending and lending it, thinking about it as I pass the bookshelf. Standing in front of the stacks and thinking of new lists and ways to categorize, how I might use this one or that in the blog. (Because zee Blog, you know, eet must be fed.)

But a large aspect of it (part two) is (don’t laugh!) home decoration. I just like the way they look. I grew up in a house full of books and magazines (and records). I’ve never lived in a house that wasn’t filled with books and magazines and music so at this point that bookish lifestyle has a bred-in-the-bone feel; it wouldn’t be home otherwise. Now I put mysteries and humor in the blue bedroom. I put romances and YA in the pink bedroom. My collection of books by or about the Beatles is in the media room. One whole seventeen-foot wall in the living room is a floor-to-ceiling built-in bookcase. (On a recent visit to the Boy’s house, I helped him rearrange and redecorate the living room … including adding a display of books. And so it continues.)

Now that I think about it, it’s a three-part process if you count the joy of seeking and purchasing. Anticipating. Reading reviews. Although that has nothing to do with the Kindle.

But this does: I was in the bookstore last week and ran into Alan Bradley’s new Flavia de Luce novel and positively fell in lust with the packaging. It’s a case cover (no dust jacket), and it’s smallish. I have the first three in the FdL series on my Kindle but ooooh, that bright red book was enchanting!

Tweet: Four reasons why I love owning books.

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10 Comments

  1. Michelle Ule says:

    Four parts–sharing with a friend! :-)

    • Jamie says:

      I kept thinking of more parts…. This is a good one. :) Actually, I think cover lust is a part all its own too.

  2. I totally get you. I got a Kindle Touch for Christmas, and I love it. It’s convenient, it’s easy to carry, and I can read any number of things at any time, depending on what all is on it. But I’ll never lose my love for the smell of paper and ink.

    As a graphic designer, I predict in 10 years book covers will be drastically more simplified than they are now. (Although in the business-book and mega-blockbuster field I’m not sure how much more simple it can get, since they usually have the authors’ names in three-inch letters.) Album covers have gotten progressively more simplified in the progression from vinyl to compact disc to thumbnails on a digital screen. We’ll always have cover art in some form, so that we can quickly visually distinguish books or albums (or whatever), but I think it’ll continue to get more simplified. No more intricate cover art like the amazing Roger Dean illustrations on Yes albums.

    • Jamie says:

      It was a sad day when we had to reduce a 12-inch piece of art to the size of a CD jewel box. Still… it’s always been about the content and only partly about the cover. The Beatles’s “white album” proved that, I think…

  3. Sarah Thomas says:

    Yes, yes, yes! On his last visit I thought my dad would bring me the bookcase that was in the hall when I was growing up. That’s where I discovered, “Farming A Handbook” wasn’t a how-to manual. He forgot to bring it. I had to work to hide the disappointment. I had a spot picked out and couldn’t wait to arrange the load of books that are currently lining the back edge of my desk. Oh, the joys of rearranging books!

    • Jamie says:

      The Boy has a bookcase my father built in junior high school shop! It qualifies as an antique but isn’t worth much. :)

  4. mackenzie says:

    I love the look of bookshelves. They make a room look so comfy and homey. I just bought a house and I have no decoration besides a few black picture frames on end tables. I want the whole wall to be a bookshelf. I think it’s going to look great. I had a kindle but I gave it to my sister because I was still going and buying the book just to have it. Great post!

  5. […] I love used books for what they are. It would never occur to me to call them antiquated media. They have character. I like having them […]

  6. […] up my e-reader?” It’s a good question. I’ve written a little about this subject myself (here and here, just for starters). Read the rest of Judy’s piece and see what you […]

  7. Karen Harvey says:

    I bought my Kindle because my Fibromyalgia mag recommended it. It is really good to use when I am have a painful flare or lying down during one, I tend to read novels because I haven’t got the concentration for ‘heavyweight’ material but I still can’t resist purchasing the real thing. Nothing smells like or feels like a book. We have 11 bookshelves so far, not enough.

    When I comes to ‘study’ books (textbooks) I must have the real thing so that I can underline, annotate, put sticky bookmarks in and so on so that I can come back to them again and again. Currently studying therapeutic writing, counselling and Psychology so lots of textbooks to juggle.

    A close family member who shall remain nameless keeps all info on mega-hardrives, the house is so plain and colourless it feels soulless. I need to cull my collections (not just books) but as most of it relates to art, writing and hobbies maybe a few more shelves and bookcases might be preferable.

  8. […] case. That is, before I owned one, I used to say I’d never own one. Feel of the book in my hands, yada yada. But then the Irishman bought me one in anticipation of a long vacation, and I learned to like it. […]

  9. […] cover is the first and possibly most important marketing element to attract a browsing customer. We bookies have been known to fall in love with a book based on the cover art alone. […]

  10. […] heard me say this before: I grew up in a home filled with books and magazines, music and musical instruments. I have […]

5 Trackbacks

  1. By This Old Thing? on 12 July, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    […] I love used books for what they are. It would never occur to me to call them antiquated media. They have character. I like having them […]

  2. By Short Saturday: To E or Not to E on 4 August, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    […] up my e-reader?” It’s a good question. I’ve written a little about this subject myself (here and here, just for starters). Read the rest of Judy’s piece and see what you […]

  3. […] case. That is, before I owned one, I used to say I’d never own one. Feel of the book in my hands, yada yada. But then the Irishman bought me one in anticipation of a long vacation, and I learned to like it. […]

  4. By Book Marketing in the Digital Age on 11 August, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    […] cover is the first and possibly most important marketing element to attract a browsing customer. We bookies have been known to fall in love with a book based on the cover art alone. […]

  5. […] heard me say this before: I grew up in a home filled with books and magazines, music and musical instruments. I have […]