A Plethora of Books

How many books on writing do you own?

If you’re like me, more than you wish to admit, especially considering the money spent on them; and if we are to be honest here, most gathering dust on the shelf, floor, chair, desk, wherever.

Years ago, I routinely checked my thesaurus, dictionary, grammar handbook, and more. All were kept within easy reach. But over time, the internet has pretty much made reference books obsolete. Why turn to a book when with the click of a mouse you can have your answer, which is up to date, not five or ten years old?

To go with the reference books, I have shelves—yes, shelves, as in plural—of books telling me how to write and sell my novel, how to create conflict and suspense, writing the paranormal, etcetera, etcetera. And though I seldom crack one open, I can’t seem to part with them. Just the thought of it hurts my heart.

Digital is rapidly replacing the printed form, and though I embrace new technology, there’s a sterileness to it. A Kindle doesn’t feel like a real book in your hands. A smartphone doesn’t have that ink-and-paper aroma. Curling up with an iPad on a rainy day doesn’t quite satisfy. Occasionally, I have to have that fix, so about every third or fourth novel, I dive into a real book.

But almost all my writing research is now done on the internet. My dictionary and thesaurus are apps on my phone. Questions are answered by a Google search. How-tos are explored through YouTube videos and web sites.

I am a modern writer.

But on occasion, I long for a simpler time…flipping through books and articles, taking copious notes on yellow legal pads, trips to the local library. This is not to say that I don’t ever use paper and pen, don’t ever read physical books, just less and less as time goes by.

I see a future where books will only be published in digital form. I know it’s better for the environment if we use less paper—save a tree and all that—but to me, that will be a sad day. I wonder what books will think when they live only as ones and zeros, having no physical form. I wonder if they will miss the feel of human hands. And I wonder if they will be lonely.

©️2019 KT Workman

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KT Workman

KT Workman grew up in the rural South without the benefit of cell phones or the Internet, a time and place that has heavily influenced her writing. To this day, when she puts pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard—nine times out of ten her mind veers south onto that old, familiar road. It goes home. KT resides in Arkansas where she writes a wide variety of gothic and speculative fiction, poetry, and dabbles in watercolor painting and amateur photography.

21 thoughts on “A Plethora of Books”

  1. It will never happen, I hope. I do own a kindle, but I rarely read a full book on it. It’s used for online shopping, movies, articles, and short stories. For me, a novel MUST be in printed format. There’s just no other way.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Like you sister I have moved to most reading on my iPad though also like you, gotta have that paper fix occasionally. And I believe that books would miss us…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve still never read a book online, and I continue to prepare everything but my final draft with the yellow legal pads you mentioned. I’ve done it so long, and it’s so comfortable to me, that I doubt I’ll ever give it up. Unless, of course, your prediction comes true and everything has to be done online. But what a sad day that will be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m torn between the two worlds—digital and print. I like the lack of clutter and over abundance of stuff afforded by digital; but I also love the feel and look of books and the printed page, and the act of writing. So I wobble back and forth.
      Thanks for sharing your thought on this, J.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I just love books, the ability to pop a bookmark between a page, the feel of the paper, the look of the font. I especially love waking early, making a cup of tea, getting back into bed and reading, reading, reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You made a comment about digital publishing being earth friendly since you save trees and so on. Digital technology is far less earth conscious from both a manufacturing and disposal point of view. Even recycling old gear just moves it from wherever you happen to live to some place like India where poor people break it down. Whatever can’t be used is left in big piles until it is bulldozed into the ocean.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I’m well aware of the awful waste created by digital technology, but it didn’t really fit into what I was writing about. The “save a tree” aside wasn’t meant to infer that paper waste is worse than any other kind. And I don’t think I said digital publishing is earth friendly.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You didn’t bother me…I think you just focused on one small part of my post, not the whole, which was about the sad demise of print books. It was not meant as a critique on what sort of waste is more earth friendly.
    Hope you have a great 4th! 🇺🇸


  7. I have a similar dilemma when it comes to books and digital reading, and gathering information. After all the books I collected and kept in College and Seminary and during 20 years as a pastor, one might think I would be sick of reading turning pages. But I still read some books just for pleasure and enjoyment of both the content and the act. I especially enjoy reading fiction with a real book in hand, though I use Kindle occasionally. I still hold many of my reference books from Seminary and find them useful for certain content, including my Greek and Hebrew references. Haven’t looked at them for a long time but would not think of getting rid of them either! I have a personal library in the neighborhood of 2,000 books! It is somewhat disconcerting to think that all of their content could fit on a thumb-drive today. BTW, I used one of my Christian History books, not a link, as a reference in my last article. Also, that post was the fruit of the idea you brought to my mind in your earlier comment, though I’m sure you figured that out when you read it;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 2,000…that’s a lot of books! I have a bunch, but not that many. 🙂 I think most people our age who are readers still hold onto books, while at the same time making use of digital; but my son and grandchildren fully embrace reading on various devices, no hard copies. And I’m with you on thumb-drives…it’s amazing the amount of information that can be stored on those things.
      And I thought your last post might have been inspired by my comment, but wasn’t sure. You made good use of it. 🙂


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