I’m not a big fan of the e-book movement. It’s not that I dislike e-books, it’s that I don’t exactly understand them. I like to consider myself a reader. I’m pretty much always working on reading a book. But, I’ve never once thought to myself, “My life would be better right now if I had 400 books next to me.” I read one book at a time. Having a library at my disposal seems like a waste. I also don’t understand the “portability” argument of the e-books. If I’m going to the beach, having a book to read would be great. (again, I don’t need 400…how long am I on the beach?) But, what if I want to go for a swim? Tossing a $7 paperback onto the blanket and running in the water isn’t a problem. But, tossing a $500 iPad? However much a Kindle Fire is? Really? I’m not sure I could do that.
But, the biggest reason I don’t understand e-books is the lack of a book collection. There’s nothing quite like the look of a shelf full of books. Looking at a screen with different pictures on it isn’t close to the same thing. You need to have the actual books. The colors of the bindings. The pictures on the cover. They display nicely, because that’s their entire purpose in life. No matter what you may say, book publishers know that you really do judge your book by its cover. So, they make them eye catching. If it works in the bookstore, it works in your display. A collection of books calls to you.
Books are also great collectables because they come in any number of price points. If you want to shell out some serious cash and go for an autographed first edition of The Science of Hitting, go ahead. If you want to grab Francona the second it’s released, you can do that too. Rather wait for the paperback version? You can save some money there. Or, if you’re really patient, you can wait for the clearance areas of Amazon or your local bookstore to put the book you want out. I’ve sometimes upgraded a paperback book to the hardcover version when I found it on a great sale.
And, books are just things to put on a shelf. Although, they could be. You can read them. See what your favorite players have to say. See what your favorite writers have to say about your favorite players. Use the books as reference when you want to know who the last Red Sox player to win a World Series game was. Or, transport yourself to yesteryear. But, you knew all that. Books are nothing new. They’re great to read, and great to collect.
As long as they’re around.