Paperback books and eReaders

by Mary Norsworthy

I have had a lifelong love affair with books, but never could I have dreamed that it would manifest itself in even a small way in the vast effort required to publish a book. I want to express my utmost gratitude to everyone who plays a part in publishing those delicious reads; to remind them of their readers’ feelings, and of how they so enjoy reading.

I work as a copyeditor and proofreader. My job is to take one final look at an author’s manuscript after all the heavy lifting completed by the author, substantive editor, and developmental editor. When I am working on a document, I can easily relate my love of reading and deep appreciation to play even a small role in the well-built bridge between author and reader whether in a paper book or an e-reader.

As a child of the 40’s and 50’s, my life revolved around books. We moved many times in my childhood due to my father’s work.  Because of that, and growing up without a mother, I found solace and consistency in books. In seventh and eighth grades, I attended a small, country school with only two rooms, one for each grade.  We didn’t have a library so my biggest thrill was when our bookmobile would come to the school once a month. In the summer, we would make memorable trips to the downtown library.  (Although not my cup of tea, today there are even scented books that evoke memories.) I love the feel of a hardcover book in my hand, the smell of crisp, new pages, the scent of treasured books long stored away, the joy of holding a bound leather book and running my fingers across the spine, the immersion in a great book, the guilty pleasure of peering ahead to see if John and Betty end up together, frequently looking at the cover, reading about the author on the back, and the joy of anticipation in getting back to the current book you are reading.

Most of all, I love the ability to share books with others.  I love the sense of permanence and nostalgia of a bound book.  A few books still hold wonderful memories to this day and define times and places where I once read them—Nancy Drew books before age ten; “Seventeenth Summer” by Maureen Daly in my early teens; Dr. Spock’s book on baby and childcare as a young mom, mysteries and romance novels in my young adulthood. At my present age, I certainly appreciate that books have provided a lifelong education.

In today’s world, I love e-readers for the convenience of quickly downloading a book for immediate reading, the ability to search on-screen, no added packing/shipping cost, environmental benefits—no trees to kill, and you can store many, even hundreds, of books on your e-reader without added weight. As I age, I appreciate the ability to adjust the size of type, and the option to read even after the lights are turned out.

There is room in our world for both types of books, and I am grateful for both.  Although I still love to shop and peruse through bookstores and libraries, I pray we will always have room in our world for both.

So thank you authors, editors, graphic designers, and everyone else who works hard to fill my book shelves and my e-reader with such fascinating and educating mental trips.

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