This article originally appeared at–e-readers—–will-the-next-generation-of-children-even-experience-the-feel-of-a-good-book
on May 2, 2014

Books Vs. E-readers – will the next generation of children even experience the feel of a good book?

I started my long love affair with the written word when I was still quite young. One of my most vivid memories is of my mother sitting at the edge of my bed reading me a bedtime story. I was 3, but her loving voice and the compelling story completely captivated me, and I was officially hooked. My mother started to teach me to read for myself about this same time and I couldn’t get enough of it. I remember spending my days in libraries and reading outside. Sure I had other hobbies, but nothing was better than the weekly trip to the local library to check out a new book. I remember the day I got my very own library card – I was 9. It was like a beloved toy or a secret treasure to be awed and relished.

I learned early on that even though a good story could take me on an adventure, finding that perfect book in the library could equal the excitement. There was nothing like finding a dusty tome hiding away from the world that held a secret world of wonder. By the time I entered middle school, most of my good memories were tied to books. By the time I was twelve I had already read most of the literary classics and had settled on Wuthering Heights as my all-time favorite book. My favorite past time (and most money spent) is browsing book stores. While the big chains (Barnes & Nobles, Booksamillion) are fine for books en masse, I prefer the little niche stores or even the used book stores (Thank you 2nd and Charles!). I find myself spending three figures every time I visit and I usually leave with another bag of books that I literally have no place to put them. (I currently have multiple boxes of books in closets all over my house)

Then the E-reader came along, and being the book snob and elitist I am, I snubbed my nose at it and said “not me, no, never”. Then a friend and I were planning a life-long trip to London, and suddenly space was an issue (what? I can’t bring 20 books on the plane?), and I succumbed to the Kindle. E-readers were still in their infancy, so I have probably the Commodore 64 version, but I digress, I ate my words and bought one. Suddenly I could take hundreds of books all without having to leave any of my shoes behind, who was the genius that came up with this! Now I could take as many books as I wanted without limiting my shoe space, but I had to forsake the things I loved most about books, the feel and the smell.

I recently heard on NPR a discussion about how the next generation will never experience a real book; that technology has taken us past the need for paper and the written word. This information shook me to my core. I truly believe that there are more people like me; that love that feel of a book and the smell of a dusty library. That search and scour through bookstore shelves to find just that right book is so deeply ingrained in our nature that we can’t live without it. Books are our history and that’s worth respect and preservation. So if you are part of the newest generation, take my suggestion: Go find a great bookstore and lose yourself, you may just end up finding yourself. Enjoy the convenience of your E-reader, but remember a book is meant to be experienced and you can only do that turning the pages of an old dusty tome. Don’t sell yourself short on the experience of a good book, whether in digital or print format.

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