I love books. Books are, in my opinion, one of the most important creations of humanity, perhaps even the most important, and books contain the power of the combined knowledge of mankind.
Of course, not all books are classics, able to change history and define civilization, but the sum of all books are what we are all about. Literary masterpieces, technical manuals, biographies of great people, books that describe us as human beings, books that makes us dream of the future, books written solely for entertainment purposes, they are all part of who we are.
Like I said, I love books. And I've got stacks of them, walls filled with books, countless cases of old books, now retired to the attic, and occasionally one of the latter gets rediscovered; a love long lost is rekindled. It can be quite fascinating to discover how much of the mood and setting you remember once you pick up that book and flip through it, sampling a few sentences here and there.
Five years ago we had bought a new apartment, and were packing to move all those books that I (stupidly) had stowed in the basement (never do that, folks!). I had to throw quite a few books away, probably for the first time in my life. There had been a leak in the basement, and several of my books had gotten moldy, and looked (and smelt) terribly. I actually felt guilty, although it was necessary. It just felt wrong. Well, that's how I feel about books.
There's been a buzz about ebooks for years now, and for a long time readers could be divided into two distinct and very opposite camps. You had the early adapters, who preached the advantages of ebooks, how you could store the content forever, and keep thousands on books on your computer. Then you had the traditionalists, who were skeptical to reading on printouts, or worse, on a computer screen. Those who love the smell of a book, and the physical sensation of holding a book. For a long time I was one of the latter. But a lot has happened in the world of ebooks. These days, no one reads cheap printouts or on bulky computers, and the content is growing rapidly, steadily. Today, people read ebooks on their iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones, Kindle ereaders and so on. For me, what changed my views was downloading the Kindle for Android (for free) on my smartphone, out of curiosity, and discovering that the reading experience was actually quite good. I discovered that although I still love the feeling of picking up a physical book and all that, the content is what’s most important to me. I’ll still buy a physical book now and then, but that will be the books I really really love, and not everything that I happen to read. And ebooks generally being cheaper than paperbacks doesn’t turn me off either.
The books I read, I usually have to wait for weeks to receive in the mail (I live in Norway, but buy most of my books from the UK or US), and like I said, I don’t have room for them all, at least not within reaching distance. So the fact that I could sample all kinds of books, buy a book with one click wherever I am, download it in a minute, and stack loads of books on my phone, was just awesome. And when I switched to a new phone a few months ago, I simply downloaded the Kindle for Android again, knowing that all my ebooks were safely backed up by Amazon, for me to download onto my new device. Now, I always have a large collection of books wherever I go, and I couldn’t be happier.
Did I mention that Amazon sell more ebooks than hardcover? And that the ebook market is where the real growth is nowadays? Well, it seems that the early days of experimenting are over, and that ebooks have finally come to stay. And it’s a good thing!
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