She murdered her library, maybe mine is next

I Murdered My Library

I have always had a romanticized view of books. I surround myself with them. I decorate around them. Reading Linda Grant's Kindle single I Murdered My Library has caused me to rethink my relationship with the physical book.

In I Murdered My Library, she explains how she accumulated a massive private collection of books, only to later find it valueless beyond personal and sentimental value. She thought she was building a collection of treasures her family would love, but only a few coffee table books were accepted when offered. As her sight and willingness to lug heavy books around decline, she embraces the e-reader.

Much like Grant, I have decades of books. I love the cover art. I love the stories. When I think of some of my favorite books I remember how they felt in my hands. I don't have to picture their worn jackets and spines, because many of them are in a bookcase inches away from me. I have rooms full of books and boxes of them in storage.

Books aren't just things to read. My imagination imbues them with magic powers. Sometimes I still imagine that books are a proof of one's character. I know my personal library no more accurately describes me than the 4 letters of a Myers-Briggs test, but I've fallen for girls over their book collection. Typically, I'm left with a few new titles.

I love ebooks, however, and I love my ereader. It has a certain weight and feel to it that suggests to me while it is not A BOOK, it can be ALL BOOKS. There is something mighty but also elegant in the simple touch interface and limited ability to do much beyond be a fantastic reading platform. I love re-reading old classics (mostly science fiction) on it and do not miss the hard copies. I also love finding new, amazing self-published work. I think the Kindle Single format is fantastic and I like paying indie authors for the chance to try their stuff. I am really impressed with their work and know I'd likely never have had an opportunity to read them otherwise.

Linda Grant's I Murdered My Library certainly got me to thinking. Not bad for a 20 minute read.

Whatever I decide, you may not have my collection of books on card magic.

Notable Replies

  1. Amazon or another retailer could remove access to any book, it's a valid concern, which I've ameliorated by having no respect for copyright once I've paid for a book.

    If I pay for an eBook and the publisher or amazon decides to retract my right to access that content at a later date, I have no qualms about picking it up elsewhere at no cost for a reference or re-read.

  2. As much as I I love the conversation in a room dampened by books, my bookshelves also keep my neighbors from complaining about my atrocious musical ability, while still looking better than egg-crate foam.

  3. And there are plenty of books and other texts available only digitally. This is why the author himself reads both digital books, and real books. It's why I do. I really don't see why there needs to be an argument for either/or, as already mentioned.

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