Saturday, May 2, 2015
Kindle, eBooks, iPad ...
I love books. As a little girl I spent many hours with books. I grew up listening to them, loving them, watching them float in toilets (true story), reading them, memorizing stories, befriending librarians, paying overdue fines, making Wish Lists full of books I couldn't live without, counting down to new release dates, yelling at authors, slamming books closed, crying when characters make me mad, flinging books across the room only to run after them again, getting only two hours sleep because I stayed up to finish the book, going in to the library on my day off to get the next book, checking out my limit, not to be trusted in the bookstore with a credit card ... grown up book lover.
I'm just that kind of girl. I'm the kind of girl who loves books. I blame it on my mom, it is what we did. Read. Books were my best friends, there are stories I've never read the final chapter to because I can't let them end. I was friends with Anne, I rode Black Beauty, I went on adventures with Laura, flew with Peter, and tried to solve the mystery in every yellow book featuring Nancy. I memorized the story of kittens and mittens, immersed myself in the world of the Brothers' Grimm, and devoured series after series. I outread my mom by age 12. I challenged myself to college reading lists in middle school. I was re-reading almost everything assigned in college. I love to read.
Now I'm a grown up. I'm a grown up who loves to read. Who gets lost in books and doesn't want to reemerge. Who hates when the phone rings during a "good part" and hates it even more when an author isn't up to snuff. I love to check out books, to buy books, to suggest books. I love books.
Why am I saying all of this? I read so many stories and overhear so many conversations at the library where people are in two distinct camps: eBooks vs Print Books. I have people tell me almost daily that the library is dying because people like eBooks (whether that is positive or negative). I hear that people only like print books because they want to hold a book. I hear that people only like eBooks because it is easy to tote around with them. I have a few friends who are mature enough to believe each should make their own decision (although these are few). The only friends I have who don't have an opinion on the matter are the ones who don't read at all.
Which camp are you in? Why? Why be in a camp? Since when it is eBooks vs Print Books. Who cares! I bet when we were moving from scrolls to bound books people were really annoyed.
"What? Turn pages! No one will do that! It ruins the flow of the story. Everything is fine, why are we changing?"
I think that the important camp to be in is Camp Read. I like Camp Read. People here read books. They enjoy stories, they learn things, they build a strong literacy foundation for their children, they open newspapers, and visit libraries. They support bookstores and expand their imaginations. They keep their minds sharp by turning off the television and picking up a book. They are informed and intelligent. They are the kind of people I want to spend my time with. You know the readers I don't want to talk too? The ones who are anti-eBooks. I haven't met anyone anti-Printbooks so I don't know if I would like them. But anti-eBooks people are kinda mean. I mean, who cares what format you're reading in as long as you are reading. Let's talk about the book, the story, the way the author crafted characters. No one at your book club is even going to know if you read it on a page or on a screen.
Although I stand up for eBooks quite adamantly, I've never been much of an eBook reader. I have an iPad and my phone that I can read on and I've read a few things, but my iPad is heavy to hold in bed at night and my phone is small. I wasn't a big fan. I love to check out books from the library and we don't always have the newest books available as eBooks and I'm totally impatient.
Now, I'm not going to give up print books because I like to read. I like books. I don't care what format they are in. Why are we even talking about this? Who even decided this should be a thing?
As a librarian I've noticed that kids don't really like eReaders. I don't know if it is because it is a device that they don't have access to or maybe because they'd rather play games on the one they have. Maybe it is something that is taken away or limited to after homework. Maybe they share it with their siblings. I don't know the reason - I only know that they don't seem to be rampantly in the hands of the 5th grade and under crowd. So don't tell me that eBooks make it so kids are spending even MORE time with screens and that is why you don't like them - because kids aren't really even using them.
So you, yes you, you reading this very long post about eBooks - the point is I hope you read. I hope you read in whatever way you enjoy and you read whatever you enjoy. I hope you don't shame your friends, neighbors, coworkers or that person on train because they are reading The Odyssey or 50 Shades of Grey. I really hope you don't bully them, roll your eyes, tease them, or anything else immature if they are choosing a different format than you prefer. Does it really matter? Instead of looking at the negative, praise them for reading, ask them about the story, seek book reviews. Bond with fellow readers, fellow members of Camp Read. We might be a dying crowd, we should band together and be best friends - not divide over something as silly as a screen.
Repeat after me: We love books. We love all books. We love readers. We love all readers. We are members of Camp Read. We are bound together by a love of stories. We are readers.