Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bricks and mortar

Bookstores are some of the best places in the universe, estimating conservatively.

First there is the smell: musty, secretive, and mysterious. A hint of dust, laden with the memories of childhood books. Then, the sights: gilt lettering on leather spines, well-loved titles, favorite authors, classics. Tall shelves march in endless stacks until all is dim-lit and indistinct. Sounds are hushed, save for the tinkling bell at the door whenever a new patron enters. Perhaps the friendly bookstore cat will rub up against your leg.

It is true the ebook revolution has done wonderful things for authors and readers. We have more selection and lower prices than ever before. Opportunities for new authors and new media are burgeoning. And that's a good thing. But bricks and mortar hold a secret not to be neglected or forgotten in this age of electrons - a secret held we are pushed toward by the nudging of a furry feline head-bump, by the faded lettering on a timeworn leather spine, and by the scent of old, old books.

That secret is connection. Connection between reader and author; between reader and reader;between reader and book-as-book. But those things need not be lost simply because of the ebook revolution. Though harder to find, their value has only increased. They are there to be found if your eyes are open.

Have you made a friend through ebooks? I have. And I'd love to hear about yours.

[Special thanks to A Softer World for the picture. Go. Read. Connect. They're great!]

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