Where Did All the Books Go?



Ellise Huston, Staff Writer

Over the past few years, electronics have slowly but surely been taking over as the new way of reading. This became apparent when I walked into Barnes and Noble the other day. The first things one would expect to see when they walk into a bookstore are–that’s right–books. But hold on, what’s this? Why is it that when I walked in, I was greeted with a stand full of various types of e-books? I used to think bookstores and electronic book companies were rivals, but here we are. Where did all the books go?

A mom and her child were walking out of the store, book in hand, when the little girl stopped and pointed at the Nooks and other e-books, saying, “Wait, Mom, I want that.” A store worker came over and told them that they could get all the books they wanted on these e-books, and the mom bought it instead of the paperback her daughter eventually put down as they made their way to the register. And maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I can’t fathom why someone would prefer an e-book over the real thing. There is something so much more inviting about holding the binding in your hands, being able to flip methodically through the pages, even enjoying the smell of the paper. It’s simply more relaxing. It’s easier to get lost in a paperback book and flipping pages than swiping on a screen over and over again. These perks don’t exist when you make the switch to books’ electronic counterparts. The e-books are almost impossible to read in the sun, they can die, and they break much faster and easier than a regular book.

Electronics are not only taking over as a new way of reading for please, but in educational settings as well. When my AP Lit teacher asked my class recently to bring in a new leisure reading book, I went to Barnes and Noble and bought a paperback. When I got to class the next day, I saw something I was not expecting–three out of the four people in my group had their leisure reading books on either an electronic book or an iPad. When did it become more popular to have an e-book than a regular one?

There are also laptop carts in almost every classroom now, whether or not they are being used. When they are, students can complete assignments and read some of the textbooks online. And I’m not going to say it’s not easier–it may be–but sometimes the Wi-Fi doesn’t work, and some kids can’t figure out how to work the laptops. Sometimes, it may be easier. But not always. And it’s not the same.

With so many people opting for e-books, various small bookstores have gone out of business. And the big ones, including Barnes and Noble, could very well be next. If we aren’t careful, soon, our only option may be the electronic alternative.