I <3 Physical Books: A Buzzfeed Comment

by jonnahzkennedy

Comment on a Buzzfeed Article that you can read here in conjunction with this post; enjoy!

Notes for some main points because this is a long comment:

The author of this article obviously believes that everyone buys hardcovers all the time and is making the assumption that only females are reading this post because number 9 is kind of ridiculous to me. I don’t like carrying books in bags (ironic because of the bookbag, lol) because I hate when they get bent or torn because I hit something or they just started moving around in there. The author does understand that there was a time when people just carried them right? And if you’re really that worried about style in your purse, go against the crowd and just get a bigger, stylish purse that can hold your books. Also any reader knows how to carry their books and keep an eye on them if they have to set them down somewhere. Also, few people are just going to be carrying around massive books that would potentially hurt their shoulders, not even high profile bibliophiles want to go carrying around War and Peace (I use this frequently because it’s like the standard for ‘epic’ work), especially when you’re going to be hit with the endless questions about why you’re reading it and such and also the eyes that say, ‘How pretentious could you get?’. Point #2, with the previous sentence’s idea, is probably valid in such a situation, but still. But, if you’re that concerned with privacy, and you don’t feel like carrying around a big heavy book, get the audiobook, there are plenty of resources to get them easily, and accessibly, the most popular being audible,com.

On the front of instant gratification, the gif only adds to it’s ridiculousness: it’s American materialism at it’s finest. We can’t wait a couple of more days, hours, to get something because we’re always getting what we want right when we want it, and it turns us into greedy bastards who can’t go a minute without our favorite toy. I recently had to wait a couple of more days for a book I’d been waiting 2 years for because the bookstore didn’t have it, and sure, it was a little tormenting, but I made it through it and sure enough, my wait a little while later payed off. Yesterday, I just had to have a book after hearing a lot of good things about it from the BookTube community on YouTube (most don’t know what this is, but that’s fine), and I didn’t even think about getting my kindle: I ran downstairs, got on my bike, and raced to Target and snatched it off the shelf and was back home in a couple of minutes: instant gratification; plus I got a workout in while doing it.

As with what everyone else has said, number 1 is the only one that makes sense to ridicule physical books for, of course, that depends on what book we’re talking about: Under the Dome, or The Hobbit? Hardcover or Paperback? Original Print or Mass Market? It’s all about being smart with your physical book, plus if you’re like me and you have a horribly long TBR, pick one that’s small, versatile, and you’ve been wanting to read for a while to travel with. Anyhow, as an author, I cannot say I love ebooks. We live in an age where we can publish our work on the internet, but whenever I publish anything on ebook (I don’t do it often), there’s not the same satisfaction as seeing it in paperback or hardcover, seeing the fruit of labors before your eyes, all the pages of it no matter how long. The reason we love physical books so much has much to do with our long association with physical things and because yes, there is undeniably something beautiful about a physical book. There’s something wonderful about looking at a great long tome and imagining all the things that could be contained within it’s cover, and there’s something magical about that crack that you get with an ancient hardcover or the feeling of a paperback becoming worn after you read it for the hundredth time in a row. Physical books have character when you buy them used, and I hundreds of used books (Thank you Half Price Books for setting up shop right down the street from my house), and I love to see the yellow of their pages, smell them (yeah, I’m weird like that), and sometimes I just stare at them.

I wasn’t exaggerating when I said I have hundreds of books, I’m the road to 300 books in my entire personal, home library, and sure, they take up a bit of space, but not as much as you might think. Just like the situation with going on vacation with books, it just depends on how you’re utilizing your space. I had to build just two pretty small shelves that each hole about 50-60 books on them, I have two crates in my closet that don’t hole as many, and then I just use my closet shelves to hold the rest, so I don’t collect books to make me look smarter, that’s just pretentious, I collect them because I love them, and I can’t help but display them because I have pride in them, because I’m the only one out of all my friends who reads books, so to know that I’m special in that way is nothing that I should be ashamed of.

And as for all that ‘I don’t ever have to leave my house’ nonsense, that’s just becoming less of a human. The No-Pants Revolution is just laziness to me, and if you have some sweats or something that aren’t to bad to wear in public, just slip those on, maybe do up your hair a little bit (I have a fro so I have to jazz it up so it dosen’t look messy) and go browse a little and also get the thing you want. Yes, it’s great not to leave your house when it’s really not necessary, but get out and meet people, that’s what’s wrong with us nowadays, we fear meeting new people, making even acquaintances. I’m pretty sure several of the employees at my local Half Price Books know my face when I walk in, and there are a couple of cashiers I could strike up conversation with if I wanted to because I go in so often. I don’t like the library myself because I don’t like returning books, but I tolerate it because I can meet up with my fellow bibliophiles where I couldn’t otherwise because that’s where we congregate, and I hate that we’re already moving to a paperless library; what’s even the point then? When I think of someone who has a huge collection of books on their ereader, I think of them in some sterile room and them smiling at their reader on the other side of it because that’s where all there books are. It’s extreme, but you see what I mean.

Number #12 is just as true for a indie book store or a store like Half Price Books: you can find plenty of weird ass books in any store, and again, there’s something wonderful about being able to browse the shelves and find something: you don’t get that out of scrolling through an online store. Our minds crave mental stimulation, and that’s what happens when we browse, that’s what happens when we open a real book: it’s that stimulation of feeling the pages and actually seeing it for what it truly is.

Ebooks would come in handy for such epic tomes as War and Peace, Les Miserables, A Remembrance of Things Past, A Suitable Boy, etc. but I still have real copies of those books. This is due in part because my parents have yet to buy me a debt card to use online, but even so: I have rarely been able to sit through reading an entire ebook, it’s just boring to me, plus, i like knowing where my next checkpoint will be, flipping through the past, and seeing how far I have come. Plus, I find physical copies to be far more useful if you’re a semi-scholar like myself and you can’t help but take notes on more ‘sophisticated’ works such as War and Peace and Les Meserables; you wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to take a note on Kindle, it’s annoying in my opinion because it’s so damn hard to type without auto-correct.

Overall, the writer of this article comes off much more like a smug teenage girl (note, reading skills, not all teenage girls are smug, just this one in particular; I don’t want an uproar about that) who thinks she’s cool because she’s ‘different’ as many books would have her believe, and this article reads more like a really dressed up conversation between her and her friend instead of trying to persuade and inform people about her opinion, but that’s the good part about all this: it’s an opinion. I still think that physical copies beat out ebooks by a whole lot, and my collection will continue to grow throughout the years, even if it does become a bit of a beast, I think I’ll be able to handle it.

My bitcoin.

Comment below if you have something to add to the conversation!