The real deal . . .

Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent’s blog today,

( talked  about good old-fashioned books, the real deal.  As opposed to the new e-readers.

Doesn't really have the essence of a book, does it?

Sure, the e-reader is great, terrific for travel, particularly long-haul when you don’t want to fill the carry-on or the suitcase with masses of print.  Or for the dash on the train or bus to work. Or any other of the million scenarios Marketing and Advertising show us.

BUT . . . (aren’t there always buts?) . . .  I’m old-fashioned.  Like Rachelle said, I too like the feel (rough, smooth, deckle-edged, thick, thin), the smell (paper does have its own fragrance -every different grade), the look (the colour of the page – that beautiful clotted cream that was the paper of my own novels when they were released) and the sound as you open the covers, turn the page (the crack of the binding, the rustle of the page that sometimes sounds like butterfly wings).

My dream bookshelves.

And what about cover illustration?  Who could fail to adore the cover of The Girl with the Pearl Earring?  Or Kinuko Y Craft’s magnificent YA covers for Juliet Marillier and for the great Dorothy Dunnett and a million others.  I have no doubt succeeding generations of e-readers will reproduce the covers superbly, that the audio of the page turning will be fine.  But I like to walk over to my filled bookshelves, to run my finger along spines of varying thickness, to pull the book out and weigh it and then to flick through the pages.  I like the look of all the rooms in my house because every room has bookcases and all the bookcases hold the real deal.  It creates an ambience and is my own private store of knowledge.

Quite simply the e-reader won’t do that for me.  That’s not to say I won’t get one, I probably will.  And I would be happy for my own titles to be available in e-book format.  Besides, I’d be a hypocite if I said the e-reader had no place – here am I in Australia, adding a new chapter to the story of The Masked Ball on the blog together with my two friends in the States.  It’s being written and read on the screen, so what’s the difference with an e-reader?

But  there are so many people like me  . . . people who are old-fashioned and tactile,  who love to spend an hour or more browsing in a book shop.  Maybe budget for book purchases and then rush home and put the kettle on, pour a coffee or tea, even a wine, and retreat to the favourite corner and stimulate the senses for an hour or two.

Favourite corner . . .

That, to me, is what it’s all about!