I Had to Go Digital

I don’t buy a lot of physical books these days. First of all, they take up room in my somewhat small home. We already have our two shelves stuffed with books, and I don’t want to make any more holes in our rental walls. Electronic books take up no space.

Second, electronic books are easy to take anywhere. I keep my kindle by my bed for nighttime reading, but whenever I have my phone with me, I still have access to my books. That increases the amount I read, which is already too little, considering I’m a writer.

Third, living in Bulgaria, I have limited access to English books beyond the most popular or second hand books tourists leave behind. To get a physical book that I want, I usually order from book depository and have to wait for two weeks to two months to receive the book.

Despite loving the romance of paper books, to fit my life, I have to go digital. I miss the physical experience of reading–of knowing exactly where a scene is and being able to flip to it because my fingers know the depth at which it occurred. But I’ve had to be realistic.

Exceptions!

Lately, I’ve decided to make a few exceptions to my no paper books approach. Those are books that have some benefit in the physical that cannot translate into the digital. For example, last year I picked up a Bulgarian language of The Little Prince pop-up book. It is an amazing experience, with so many interactive bits that it is well worth taking up space in my home.

Then, for Christmas this year, my husband picked up the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, with illustrations by Salvador Dali. These are amazing illustrations that I can spend hours running my fingers over. I want them physically in front of me. No room for digital substitutions there.

Now I have built a dream of having a shelf in my home filled with these special additions that offer a more immersive experience than text on a page.

The Future of Physical?

I don’t pretend to understand all of the trends in the book industry. I do know plenty of people still buy paper books, and plenty of people buy hybrid. But I am starting to wonder if these special editions will be the future of paper books. These give a reason for people to invest in a physical item. It goes beyond the reading experience and gives a multimedia experience.

What do you think? Do you still read paper books? Where do you keep them? If you’ve gone digital, would you buy special editions of your favorites?

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