I remember the day I got my first library cards. They were red and blue and looked like someone’s failed attempt at a Pinterest DIY but I loved those card because they granted me access to books. FREE books. Sure I could only borrow two at a time but who cared? They were free and I was in heaven. It was because of this I grew to love that old book smell (the new book one I hated at the time because it reminded me of back to school shopping), I loved how the spine cracked the first time you open a book and would try to gently pry it open so I could relive the moment again another time (I was an odd child). I also grew accustomed to the anxiety you felt when you lend a friend a book and they would have it a bit too long. But one day what I thought would be the impossible happened; I read through the entire children’s section at the library. Now before you get too excited, this was a teeny tiny branch close to my home but still…in the eyes of a 10 year old that was probably my first, genuine wtf moment. Not only that but when I tried to find books in the series at the bookstore I would be met with ‘What is that?’ -_-
It was around this time I got my first computer and I discovered Project Gutenberg. Bruh. Free books. Free books everywhere, and books I had never even heard of. Up until that point I was only using the computer to drawn houses in Paint and play Pinball but now I had discovered that I didn’t have to wait on the bookstore to find me new books; I could download and read books online. Ebooks for me meant freedom. I could carry my books where ever and not have to worry about the added weight and with online bookstores like Amazon, Kobobooks, Barnes and noble etc. getting the books I wanted became a lot easier (and lets not even talk about how invaluable they were during university life)
But was the trade off worth it? Sometimes I’m not sure. Nostalgia makes me long for the book smells, holding the copy in my hand and spending hours wrestling with dog ears. (The eye pains from the glare of ereader screens may also be fueling these feelings -_-) Yet, I’m also grateful about the greater access I have now because of ebooks. At this point I’ve pretty much given up on the bookstores here though, when I want to get physical copies I normally check out used book stores and get them second hand (sometimes persons would bring books with them after they’ve travelled) As much as I like the accessibility that comes with ebooks I can’t help but feel happy that printed books haven’t completely disappeared like they were forecasted too.