There’s been a lot of talk about the death of print and the rise of electronic books. Many say that authors need to get with the times and go electronic, and then others say they like the feel of a book in their hands, and will never buy an e-book reader, and the people like them will keep print alive, if only on a smaller scale.
I keep saying I’d love to have an e-book reader, because it would make buying books easier, and if I got the sony one, I could do copyedits on my fiction on it. Someday when the credit card is paid off, I’ll get one.
Then I read this post, from Seanan Mcguire: http://seanan-mcguire.livejournal.com/390067.html
And there it is. That’s why I don’t have an e-book reader. I can’t bloody well afford one.
The library was my place, right from an early age. My dad took me regularly – it must have been every two weeks, because that’s how long you were allowed to keep a book back then. I went through books like nobody’s business, right from the time I learned to read, which was pretty young – my dad read to my brother and I regularly, and he would point at each word as he read it, so that I started to pick up patterns pretty fast. I would read anything I could get my hands on. When I’d read all the children’s books in the house, he must have started taking me to the library when he saw me reading the backs of cereal boxes for the lack of anything to read on the table.
When I graduated from picture books to chapter books, it was to Thornton Burgess, and his books about forest animals. When I got to longer books, it was because I was in love with horses (what teenage girl isn’t? (well, except for my mother…)) and got into the Black Stallion series, and Marguerite Henry and her Chincoteague ponies. I read every book in the library that had a horse or a unicorn on the front.
When I got into science fiction, that was how it happened to. It was “A Swiftly Tilting Planet” by Madeleine L’engle, and I went back to read the first books in the trilogy first, because I’m neurotic that way. But it had a unicorn on the front, with bonus wings, and I had to read it.
So then I started cleaning out the library of their science fiction and fantasy, eventually moving over to the adult section. This would have been thousands of dollars worth of books, easily. I would go through one a week at least. Lets see, one book a week, for a year, at, say 10$ a book, we’ll be conservative, even though a lot of those we probably 30$ hardcovers, would be around 500$ a year. And I’m not even counting the non-fiction I took out. Which tends to be more expensive. I educated myself on all kinds of things, just browsing the racks to find interesting things.
It’s like a bookstore! Only free!
We do need libraries, and our libraries need funding. As the gap between the poor and the wealthy widens, opportunities disappear. Libraries have always been a haven for enlightenment, and when public schools are losing funding, and teachers are overwhelmed with class sizes, students with the desire should always have the option to initiate their own learning opportunities.
(as the concepts of intellectual property and information ownership and the rights of the poor to access them creep into the setting of my next novel….)
While I agree with many of the points, the mention of library does bring up a few other points I would like to address. Many libraries have eBooks for loan, while not a huge number of files, they are there. So it is possible to borrow books still.
There are other ways to get free books as well. Project Gutenberg offers over 36,000 free ebooks.
While walking into a library is free, and you can sit and read books in peace (hopefully) or take them home to enjoy; there’s a lot of the same benefits with eReaders.
Free e-books, yes, but not free e-book readers. The main thing the link is talking about is the prohibitive cost of the initial investment in the reader. I’d love to get a reader so I could go through Project Gutenburg and have access to all those free books, but with our financial situation, I can’t justify the expense of the reader, and there will be a lot of others like me.
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