I’m a huge fan of books in their original printed version. I like to see books that have obviously been taken care of but do not mind if I see a lovely old book a bit weary from life’s journey and smelling a bit musty. It’s all part of the charm that has helped me nurture a love for books that will never grow old, even though I will.
But I’ve recently heard so much said about e-books, Kindle (Amazon), Nook and Kobo e-readers that I feel I have to put something down on paper myself and, in the process, put a good solid word in for our local library which does an amazing job in providing excellent services to every nook (there’s that word again!) and cranny of these isles.
Here are a few points which are currently rustling my dust jacket:
1. If you look on most websites which show pros/cons of printed books v e-books you will see statistics which try to convince you that in 2010 the sale of e-books was greater than that of printed books. Here is what was actually said by Amazon itself: “Exceeding the company’s own expectations, Amazon.com have announced that Kindle eBooks outsold paperbacks for the first time last year. In the company’s fourth quarter sales results published 27th January, Amazon.com reports that 115 Kindle eBooks were sold for every 100 paperbacks purchased.”
I don’t see any scales tipping there! What I did notice was that the results were published on 27th January and I may be wrong but I would think there could have been a few extra sales of Kindle e-books and e-readers leading up to the festive season. But clearly books are still holding their own.
2. When libraries, such as our very own Shetland Library, continue to encourage readers from tiny tots to teens with all their special initiatives such as Book Bug (0-5 years), right up to Help with Homework and much more for the older ones, why would parents still want to shove an electronic reader into the hands of their children and deliberately deny them the right to hold the true substance of some of the world’s classic literature?
3. When lifelong learning is of the utmost importance to one and all and should be made available to all, why are we being faced with cuts to university tuition fees but also threats of closure for our libraries and learning centres?
As far as our library is concerned we have some choices.
1. Show that it is important by making more use of its excellent facilities.
2. Support the events which the library staff work very hard to organise for us all.
3. Take a friend along next time we go and introduce them to the joys of reading.
4. Don’t give a kid a Kindle!
And come along to the World Book Night event at the library on 5th March.
Kate Sidra Ali