The Evolution of the Book Within My Lifetime

HardyboysToday, we have an overabundance of books from which to choose. When I was growing up in the 60s and 70s, books came in two versions: hardcover and paperback. If you wanted to purchase a book, it either came from the local five and dime or you ordered through the Weekly Reader Foundation. I have fond memories of carefully clipping out the book order form from the back of the Weekly Reader, making my selections, begging my mother for money, and giving the completed form, with the appropriate money, to my teacher. We all loved the day when the big box of books was delivered to our classroom and she passed out everyone's purchases, with our order form paper-clipped to the front of one of our books. I also have fond memories of earning $2 per week for allowance and using that to purchase Hardy Boy Mysteries in hard cover at the Ben Franklin Department Store. These books came with no flap so you made your purchase selection based upon the title or the cover illustration of Frank and Joe in some new mysterious setting.

Today, with the advancements in technology, purchasing a book is quite easier and can be done almost instantaneously. You can get audio books and eBooks, as well as hardcovers and paperbacks, although I have an aversion to audio books and do not consider them real reading.

I have, for as long as I can remember, had a personal library, and have amassed quite a few books in 48 years of living. And while I am very proud of my personal collection of books, in November 2010, I became fascinated with eReaders which were beginning to populate the television with fascinating commercials demonstrating the wonders of the tablet. At first, I considered purchasing the Kindle from Amazon; they had always been Kindle my mail order supplier and it just seemed right to purchase an eReader from them. After I determined which model Kindle I was going to order, my wife suggested I should just purchase an iPad because of the extra features it contained and the versatility of reading apps that it had. Easily convinced, I purchased one for her, as well.

IpadWhen I unpacked my iPad, I was delighted to begin using the iBooks app and adding books to my electronic library. When the books I wished to purchase were not available in iBooks, I could readily use the Kindle and Nook apps available on the iPad to aid in my search. I loved always having my library available regardless of my location. I so delighted that I could increase the font, change the resolution, highlight, annotate, and bookmark all so easily. I could even read in low light or no light at all!

Beginning last month, however, the pendulum began to swing back to the other side of the fulcrum: there grew within me a nostalgic yearning for printed books – their heft, their smell, their feel. I had been courting eBooks for quite some time and my printed books, remained ever faithful, waiting for me to return to their waiting arms. I love books, all books, no matter be they hardcover, paperback, or eBook, and I consider myself quite lucky to have books available to me in so many formats…and yes, I omitted audio books on purpose!

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