Tonawanda News

Columns

November 11, 2010

KEPPELER: For the love of paper

— — I found myself in the position of trying to explain ebook readers to a relative recently.

After I ran down the lists of pros and cons — mostly pros at that point — from the relatively low price for books to the mammoth amount of memory available to the portability, my listener was still skeptical.

“I don’t think I’d like that,” she said. “It just doesn’t seem the same as sitting down with a new book.”

Given that I’ve been coveting a Kindle for a while now, that made me think.

Now, I love gadgets. I don’t own many of them ... there’s that whole “cost” issue ... but I like them. The sheer convenience of downloading a new book in seconds is attractive, and the “cool” factor is definitely there.

But would I like it nearly as much as a good, old-fashioned paper book?

Hmmm ...

I have a lot of books, from beat-up old paperbacks to first-edition hardcovers to one prized leather-bound signed copy.

I recently fished out a dog-eared copy of a book I bought with my birthday money at the ripe old age of 13. The protagonist in that book, the first of a series, was also 13. I look at the cover, at the yellowed pages and rounded corners, and remember what it felt like to be curled up under the covers with a flashlight, finding out what happened next.

My copy of Anne McCaffrey’s “The White Dragon” is almost missing its cover. It’s quite literally hanging by a thread or two. I won’t buy a new one. That one has too many memories, and besides, I don’t like the cover art on the new editions.

Not to mention, I can look at the covers of the volumes in my collection and remember where they’ve been with me.

I know the books I took on my honeymoon. (Yes, really.) I know the books I had at the hospital while my sons were born.

I know the book I tried, unsuccessfully, to read during the long hours of my oldest son’s heart surgery when he was five months old. (In fact, I’ve never been able to feel quite good about that book again, which I’ll admit is quite unfair. The tension just comes back.)

I just started a new tome by one of my favorite authors, Canadian Guy Gavriel Kay. He only has a new book released once every five years or so, and I’ve been saving this one as a treat. It’s a hardcover first edition, all thick cover and heavy paper, and it’s beautiful. (The story’s pretty good, too.)

Would it be the same if I hadn’t made the trek to the store to buy it, weighed it in my hands before opening the cover, smelled the scent of new paper.

No, I don’t think it would be. And I don’t think I’m ready to do away with that experience — nor with the bookcases full of volumes in my home.

I still think ebook readers are kind of neat. Maybe some day, I’ll have one. But if that day comes, it’ll be solely for portability’s sake, in addition to the paper edition rather than instead of it.

I love my books too much.

Jill Keppeler is a page designer and columnist for the Tonawanda News. She can be reached at jill.keppeler@tonawanda-news.com.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Canal Fest, here we come This column should be titled "Roads and Streets." First of all, Meadow Drive is finally open. Although it took very long to be completed, it's beautiful. Riding by the other day brought into focus how many people will use this to cut across town. One less thing for residents to complain about.

    July 12, 2014