BootLeg Betty

E-Books Outselling Printed Books?

Independent Mail
More readers use e-readers
Posted May 24, 2011


It was inevitable: Amazon.com announced last week that it is now selling more electronic books through its Kindle e-readers than printed books.

Sales are up three-fold this year, according to USA Today, which says the sales figures indicate that people are reading more than ever. Anything that keeps people interested in the written word is beneficial in our book, and through technology, access is granted to books (some older and out of print) not always available at a bookstore or so popular at the library there is a waiting list.

There’s a plus to the e-readers and with the thousands of titles available. Still, there’s something about turning the pages with one’s fingers that still delights us, instead of tapping keys to capture adventure, mystery, romance and history.

One of our editorial board members recently purchased at auction a copy of “Little Women” published in 1872. It wasn’t to delve into a new and never-before-read story, of course. The characters and their adventures, their joy and their sadness, are as familiar as their names. But just imagine the number of hands that have held this book over the many decades since it was put together with glue and hand-set type, have anxiously turned to the next chapter to vicariously live the adventures of Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth. In simply picking up the book, one can feel connected to those long-ago readers and be given insight into their lives as much as the lives of the characters. The number of places where the book falls to a certain page give more than ample hints to various readers’ favorite scenes. How many 10-year-old girls read this very book in the crook of a tree, on a front porch swing or sitting by, at various times, firelight, lamplight, electric light or the light of a summer day?

While the story is what captures our imagination, the mode of perusing it still matters to many of us. We found a list of the favorite books of several celebrities and it’s hard to imagine that they’re reading them in any manner other than the traditional, considering the lineup:

– Alec Baldwin: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.

Billy Joel: “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” by Mark Twain.

– Gregg Allman: “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom.

Bette Midler: “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll.

– Natalie Portman: “The Diary of Anne Frank” by Anne Frank.

– Brian Williams: “No Ordinary Time” by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

– Steven Spielberg: “The Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper.

Sen. John McCain: “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Ernest Hemingway.

What a comfort, as well, on a sleepless night, to visit an admittedly overcrowded bookshelf and pull down an old and familiar favorite to lull one to sleep. While we’re sure others have mastered it, we just don’t get the same feeling from holding a piece of electronics as the night wears on.

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