This post is all about books, including mine.
It is an acknowledged fact today that print book sales are rising, while e-book sales are falling. How come? Here are ten reasons.
As an author, I delight in both print-book and e-book sales; the main thing is that people are buying my books. But I grew up with print books, still have some of them from my early years, and value them highly. Think of curling up in an armchair on a cold and windy night, maybe with some fresh-made coffee and a snifter of Courvoisier V.S.O.P. brandy, and a favorite book. Or, minus the coffee and brandy, just with a book.
Or think of browsing through that vanishing phenomenon, a used bookstore, maybe with the owner and a napping cat, and finding fascinating old books that you didn’t know existed, or that you’ve been looking for for years.
Or how about a bookstore with shiny new books that tempt you with their bright covers and catchy titles. Or finding at home an old book you haven’t seen for years, maybe with an inscription from a friend that lets you relive a fragment of your past.
Then, in Mediterranean societies (Egypt, Greece, Rome), books were papyrus scrolls on which people wrote by hand – in Roman times, often a whole team of educated slaves. Papyrus was made by processing a plant, the papyrus reed. Our word “paper" comes from “papyrus.” But here, too, there were problems. Papyrus scrolls, were crumbly things; unlike clay tablets, they didn't last.
|A 3rd-century BCE Greek papyrus manuscript.|
I have seen clay tablets and papyrus only in museums, but parchment I see daily. Framed on my living room wall are two eighteenth-century parchments that I acquired in Paris long ago: two pages of Gregorian chant, with musical notes and the accompanying Latin text, which I have managed to translate. They dominate the room.
|A Rheims gospel book, with illustrations.|
|Johannes Gutenberg. A drawing |
made after his death in 1468.
Books multiplied in numbers and in time became available to all, which had both good and bad consequences. The peak of book production at that time came in the late 1600s in the Dutch Republic, newly freed from Spanish rule and experiencing a Golden Age that we know chiefly from its paintings. Book production per capita there was ten times greater than in France or Spain, totaling an astonishing 300 million books. It was then that books became a part of daily human experience, and they remain so today. Democracy as we know it depends on a free press, and that means not just newspapers but books.
|Tom Murphy VII|
The story of a lovable street kid turned pickpocket in nineteenth-century New York. Of all my fictional characters, he is by far my favorite.
"A must read." Five-star Amazon customer review by nicole w brown.
"I can't recommend this book enough." Five-star Barnes & Noble customer review by ladynicolai.
"The novel is worth reading and I highly recommend it." Midwest Book Review by Nicole Williamson, retired librarian.
'Thoroughly enjoyed this historical book! I recommend to read! Facts accurate!" Five-star Goodreads review by LisaMarie.
"Amazing book and the story line kept me reading on and on." Five-star Goodreads review by Kathy.
"Engaging and provocative." Barnes & Noble editorial review by Sean Moran.
"Absolutely delightful. Five Bees." Gerry Burnie's Reviews.
All books available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but these three preferably from the author at $20.00 each plus postage. Contact me by e-email at email@example.com. (If you're in the city, we can arrange to meet; that way, no postage.) And if you buy two, half price for the second.
And now, after that grossly commercial and outrageously self-interested spiel, let's finish the list of three more points about books:
|Donald Trung Quoc Don|
Also: print books last. Especially hardcovers. But even paperbacks last far longer than an e-book, which has no presence off a computer. So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, and all the rest. (Here in New York, we do them all.) Whether giving or receiving, may your holiday be blessed with books.
So much for books for now. A fascinating subject.