Book Love in a Digital Age


I think I’ve mentioned before that a few years ago I asked my brother-in-law to build me some built-ins so I could stare longingly at my pretty, pretty books (hey, don’t judge me!). When I love a book, I love it hard core. I want to see it, to be able to peel back the dust jacket and run my fingers along the engraving on the cover and the spine, to hug it when I’m finished re-reading it, but still not quite ready to let the characters go yet.

So for me to decide to go with a digital-first publisher was a huge deal. (Like two weeks of agonizing over the decision and driving M batty with my should I/should I not incessant, out-loud pondering.) If the sales of Love and Cupcakes are good enough, there is the potential for a paperback printing (fingers crossed!). But it might not happen. I might not have a copy of my first-to-be-published novel to add to my shelves where it will sit next to my ever-growing magical realism collection (containing brilliant books by Sarah Addison Allen, Nova Ren Suma, Erik Setiawan, Erin Morgenstern, and Aimee Bender).


And that’s okay.

Here’s why—for most of my favorite books, the ones I will re-read until I can pretty much just flip to the pages of a specific scene I want within seconds, I have them in both hard copy and e-book. As much as I love to look at my books, I also want certain ones with me at all times (yes, I know how co-dependent that is, and no, I don’t care!). I don’t want to risk damaging the dust jackets or bending the pages or cracking the spines. I want them to stay pretty and perfect and forever loved.

Which means that since Allegiant (the final book in Veronica Roth’s mind-blowingly fantastic Divergent series) comes out next week, and I’ve been re-reading Divergent and Insurgent to steep myself back in the amazing world she’s built to be ready to dive into the final installment, I didn’t disrupt my bookshelves. I pulled out my kindle, snuggled up to it and got lost in a story I love.

So I’m banking on the fact that while a lot of people are still book purists—and like me love the feel and smell of a printed book—there are still tons of people who really just want a good story no matter the format.


8 thoughts on “Book Love in a Digital Age

  1. Rebekah says:

    This is a great post. I actually need to buy some of the ebooks I own in hard or paperback, and I need to replace my kindle (because I broke it at a bar) so that I can have my books with me at all times as well. I do carry whatever book I’m reading with me at times, and am not embarrassed to pull it out and read it should there be a lull in the conversation. This is the Rory Gilmore in me.

  2. I’ll always love the feel, smell and physical act of opening a book and turning the pages.

    When I was a kid and bought the Lord of the Rings, I, um, smelled the pages. You know, flipped the pages like a fan and smelled the pulpy paper.

    Whenever I find an old paperback, I’ll take a whiff and it takes me right back to my thirteen-year-old self, all those years ago.

    Strange, much?

    I mostly read on my iPad now, but still buy books, too.

    Books will always be with us.

    • So not strange, Ron! I love that it has such an impact on you and reminds you of being young and reading. It is a smell I love too. There is actually a book scented perfume I’ve been tempted to buy just b/c it sounds awesome!

  3. AVO: (Announcer Voiceover) “Chapter Three, the new fragrance from Random House. Step into a world of possibilities.”

    All the commercials are random scenes from books. Each spot ends with a distinguished man with salt and pepper hair–a George Clooney type–saying to a woman after she passes by, “Chapter Three?”


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