I was fascinated to read that hard copies of books outsold e-books in the first half of 2014. Sales of hardbacks and paperbacks are still outselling their electronic rivals and growth in the sales of e-books is slowing down. I believe one reason could be technology. With the advent of smart phones, computers dominating the workspace, and electronic dealings with everything from online shopping to banking, bill paying and socialising, people need a retreat and what better place than into good, old-fashioned paper pages.
When electronic books first appeared many were very anti with an ‘I’ll-never-use-one-of-those’ attitude. I was fine with them, any way to read a book is good for me. They’re very useful for popping in the handbag, especially for holidays where space and weight was saved in a suitcase normally holding paperbacks.
Despite my comfort in using an e-reader, nothing can compare to a ‘real’ book. I have something of a reputation of being a book hoarder. I just have to have them. The smell and feel of a book has something comforting about it. Not necessarily a new volume either. The dusty smell of a second-hand book shop or a library store could be bottled and sold to me. Books lined up in all sizes and widths colouring the shelves with a rainbow of literature are a delight to see.
In my writing shed I’m surrounded by all kinds of books. Fiction to escape into, dozens of reference books on smuggling and of 18th-century history, general history, reference books, dictionaries and books on writing. There are also many booklets and pamphlets. I can’t really see me finding what I need as quickly as I do in my shed in an electronic collection.
My own books are available in paperback and many copies have been sold. I feel proud to see them on the shelves in bookshops and libraries – how would I do that for an e-copy? So I’m pleased the popularity of real printed books continues, and long may it remain the case.