There really is something amazing about walking into a library or old book store and being slapped in the face with the smell of old books. Books have a unique smell that can evoke emotions and memories you hadn’t had for years. To be able to smell and touch the leather bound copies, feel the paper between your fingers as you turn the page, see that huge stack of books on your dresser (Hannah) waiting to be chosen, our senses most certainly are an essential component to our experience of reading. So, how does one make the switch to reading digital books and not lose out on the enjoyment of the sensual nature of reading ‘actual’ books?
Simply put, you do lose out. However, (you knew there would be a “however”) there are a number of elements that you gain…
My decision to make the switch to primarily digital reading came as a result of a several years long endeavor to purge my life and home of excess ‘junk.’ Now, when I say ‘junk’ I mean more than simply all of those old magazines sitting around and the old CD’s that we can’t even listen to if we wanted because we no longer have a CD player; by ‘junk’ I mean all the extra stuff that fills my space (mental and physical). I think the beginning of this journey started with my decision about four years ago to create a capsule wardrobe. I have always loved clothes and adore putting together an amazing outfit! However, my closet was jammed packed and I realized one day that I had clothing that I loved that never got worn because it had gotten lost in the fray. So, I made the decision to create four seasonal wardrobes with 30 items or less in each…since then I have reduced that to two seasonal wardrobes of about 35 items each. But, the point isn’t the brilliance of a capsule wardrobe (although I certainly recommend it to everyone) but that making this one decision lead to other changes.
From fall 2017 to summer 2018, I purged my house completely! I went through every closet, cupboard, book shelf, nook, and cranny and got rid of the excess. George and I took two full truck loads of donations to Goodwill and I threw out and recycled countless numbers of bags of ‘stuff.’ This was a very freeing process for me but I knew the harder part of my purge would be to not fill my space back up with stuff. This is where my switch to primarily digital reading came into play. I cannot tell you how many boxes of books I donated…both Hannah and Dad were horrified and I’m pretty sure Dad has not truly forgiven me yet, but honestly, how many books that I’ll never read do I need on my shelf? So in an effort to keep my space clutter free, I decided to buy digital books rather than paper books when it is possible (or I don’t need the physical copy for teaching).
Overall, I would say that I am happy with my decision to make the switch to digital. I do miss the sensual experience of ‘real’ books sometimes but I still have three full bookcases so I can always pick up something I already have and read it when I need a fix. Also, this is not by any means a steadfast rule, I still buy a ‘real’ book from time to time and I will always enjoy the feel and smell of books. But in a world full of excess, this is my own small way of saying, “enough is enough!”
Read on my friends!