Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Judging a book

Two takes on the resurgence of beautifully designed and printed print books: The Guardian takes the high road, the New York Times goes straight for the commercial jugular.

Both note that the print market is having to differentiate itself from the e-market in order to survive (and make money). A year on from first having a whirl with a Kindle, I'm still a resolute print-book reader and buyer.

I still read print books because the public library can supply (almost all) my needs. It's still cheaper for me to reserve a book I want through the library than to download it from Amazon, and because my reading backlist is so long, I don't feel like I'm missing out by not having it now.

My print buying has tailed off mostly to YA fiction (cheaper than 'adult' books), new releases by my favourite authors (completist urges) and essay collections (no real reason, there's just something I like about them). I buy very few books that I haven't already read. In fact, I buy books largely in order to loan them - there's something irreplaceable, for me, about the physical act of handing over a book for someone else to love. I haven't (more shame me) bought an art book all year.

Some people have photo albums. I have bookshelves:  even without cracking them open, my books remind me of people and places and moments in my life; where and when I read them, who I was at that time, who I shared them with. Plus, yeah - they do smell good. 

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