Paper or Pixel?


our armor

Gioia De Antoniis via Compfight

How do you like to read your stories?

You know how you are always asked at the grocery store check out line, “Paper or Plastic”. Some are adamant about paper, some not so much. But for our crew of writers and readers I would like to ask your viewpoint on the digital revolution.

Here’s what I’m talking about…

There is something about stationary and other paper goods that has always attracted me. I find that other writers feel the same way.

Even in this digital age the fascination continues. I remember getting lost in the revolving rack stacked full of different types and colors of paper. The cute ragged ages of some cards. The smooth texture of full page stationary in my signature light violet color. What I called Paris Purple. Just the right shade.

I worked in a Hallmark shop when I was in middle school. Loved every minute of it. I was going to buy a stationary shop; always envisioned it. Of course, my love of books would require me to also sell books.

I wanted to make the customers feel comfortable so I watched out for the perfect chairs to be put in various areas around the shop. They would need drinks as well so tables would be necessary.

Soon famous for baking up a storm, I knew the smell of fresh baked items would keep them there. Carefully selected lighting and seating was just the ticket.

Does this sound familiar to you? Yes, well the big chain bookstores developed my dream of a small shop and expanded rapidly. I still wanted that homey small owner feel to my shop. Where you would find surprises around ever corner, not streamlined facilities that all looked  the same in whatever state or city you happened to be in. That might be a comfort to some but it was not my true vision.

Long before I knew of the play Parfumerie or either movie, I saw my little “Shop Around the Corner” as a bastion of book lovers against the great ‘homogenized’ chains. Of course, we know now that in this digital age one large chain was not able to keep their accounting books in order. However, even today there are shops that have withstood both the digital retailers and the big chain stores.  Read about the Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor in a wonderful article in Poets & Writers Magazine. I salute them.  And lo and behold, I just found handmade stationary on DizzyCsCrafts blog. Made with loving care. For readers in America, my friends in Poland and environs, she is in the UK so you would need to consider shipping costs. Soon, I will have a Love of Library series on this site; and yes, this is the first salvo. You should read a lovely post by author Debbie Young In Praise of Public Libraries. (Young by Name articles are on her new url; Poets & Writers Magazine also has a pivotal interview conducted by Michael Szceserban, an editor at Simon & Schuster with Agent and Editor David Gernert about the joy of reading and bookstores

No, it will never be all over. But if B&N doesn’t stay healthy, the publishing industry will change phenomenally. Bookstores are incredibly important—not just as retail outlets, but as places where people go and commune with other like-minded individuals, many of them strangers, and talk about big ideas and compare notes on what they’ve been reading and what’s going on in the world. That is a tremendously important and valuable part of our culture. It’s much bigger than just selling books. I find it appalling that our society is turning a blind eye—maybe through just a lack of awareness—to the fact that the number of bookstores in this country is declining all the time. It’s really serious…

So, my question to you is this:

Does it make a difference if you are reading a book on a device or holding the actual book in your hand?

I truly am curious about the difference in your experience of holding a book, feeling the pages between your fingers and flipping over to the author’s picture or the blurb within seconds.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments. Commenting is always free and I know you will have thoughts on this as it is becoming the two sides to the one revolutionary change in publishing.