Ever since owning a Kindle and reaping its many benefits, I’ve suddenly (and maybe ironically) come to appreciate paper books more because the lack of them in my life has made them feel more nostalgic and valuable now, like an old yearbook or baseball glove.
But it’s only certain types of books that I’ve come to appreciate more, and retain (most of my book collection has been sold off and I continue to buy or rent new books via the Kindle).
It’s either books that I truly enjoyed and can find myself reading over and over again, or those that were with me during symbolic eras of my life. (In other words, I don’t care to own the physical copy of every dime-store thriller I pick up.)
For example, I recently discovered a worn copy of “A Separate Peace” in an old box that I hadn’t opened for years. It is, in fact, the very copy I read as a sophomore in high school, complete with notes and annotations in the margins.
The intrinsic value of this book goes so far beyond the convenience and features of electronic books, which could never achieve what this book means to me.
I also just purchased the hardcover edition of “Mockingjay” (the third and final book of The Hunger Games trilogy). It is complete with a fabric-woven hardcover with embossed lettering on the spine, and an embossed mockingjay depiction on the front cover. It also has a slightly glossy cover/sleeve with more raised lettering and illustrations. I have already run my hand over it gently to feel the bumps and seams.
I can see myself re-reading these physical books throughout the rest of my life; re-visiting certain chapters or quotes, and maybe lending them to special people in my life to get an idea of who I am and what I appreciate.
This is what real, physical books offer that digital ones could never. The ability to feel and connect with the story (and the owner/handler of the book) in a much different way.