What is she holding?

A book!

A book !

In a not distant future (unfortunately…) — Paulo Coelho

Fortunately the fad for e-books and e-readers seems to have passed, with sales of e-readers falling (though that may be due to rise in sales of iPads and iPhones).

Nothing beats the look and feel of a real book, the delight in finding a new book, flipping through its pages.

Not last weekend, but the weekend before, I caught the end of a market in a church. My eye was caught by a book on a stall, a very old book curiously entitled Lamb’s Tales From Shaks-Peare. Inside, it was inscribed as a Sunday School prize, dated Jan 23rd 1898.

Last Friday, I was in Guildford, it poured down, I sheltered in a Christian Bookshop in Quarry Street, then the newly opened Phyllis Tuckwell charity shop. My eye was caught by a lovely illustrated copy of Alice in Wonderland, which I have never seen before.

Last weekend, whilst in Farnham, I picked up a copy of The Alchemist. I resisted the temptation to pick uo the other Paulo Coelho books, leave for others to find. A little while later, I gave The Alchemist away.

There is nothing like browsing in the lovely old bookshop in the back streets near Winchester Cathedral. Sadly these bookshops are now rare, as rare as some of the old books they may have.

None of these experiences would be possible without real books.

E-books do have a place.

Yes, you can carry a lot around with you, take on holiday. But are you going to read them all?

I prefer real books, yes, extra weight to carry. But, I have the delight, and see the pleasure, of giving them away. I would not have had the conversation with a stranger of The Alchemist changing her life, if she had not spotted I had several Paulo Coelho books. Once I have given away the books, I know I have spare capacity spare weight, to bring things back.

For unknown writers, e-books offers an easy entry into the publishing world if they use a platform like leanpub, which offers writers what bandcamp offers musicians. Though with many, maybe it would be better if they did not have an easy path.

For established writers, e-books offers the chance of bringing their books to a wider readership, but only if they offer for free or less than a dollar.

Thanks to Paulo Coelho for the picture.

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