I was recently handselling my books at a local Christmas fayre. In the course of the day I chatted to many of the visitors. Some were fans of romantic fiction and bought my books (yay!), some simply wanted to talk to an author about what writing a book was really like. Many of them confessed to harbouring dreams of writing a book themselves one day. Lots were shocked at how long it can take to write a book that is 100k words long.
However, the theme that struck me most throughout the day was the number of people who, whether buyers or not, picked up my books, held them, stroked them or flicked through them and then with an almost guilty smile admitted that they just LOVE the feel of a real book. Men and women, young and old, they all said the same thing. The majority even confessed to owning a Kindle, admitting they found it useful particularly when going on holiday so that their suitcases were no longer weighed down by their holiday reading material. But they still yearned for a real book and gave in to the impulse almost as though it were a guilty pleasure.
I fall into that category too. I like the Kindle. It’s useful and it has its place but it will never replace a real book in my affections. There is something about the feel of a book and dare I say it the smell of a book that no electronic device could ever hope to replicate.
No one should feel guilty about loving books. They are a joy and something we should all cherish whether or not we own ereaders.
So if you are stuck for a present to buy someone this Christmas don’t forget about the humble book. You may just make someone’s day before they even open the cover.