While I love my new tablet and have a number of eBooks downloaded and ready to read, I have found myself re-reading old-fashioned paper books this weekend. Back in 2009 I received an advanced reading copy of Michael Connelly’s thriller The Scarecrow. Advanced reading copies were one of the nicer things that big publishing used to do for book sellers and book reviewers. Released only to the aforementioned specialized readers prior to hard cover publication, these were trade paper back versions with the same art as the dust jackets of the forth coming book. I got my very first ARC, of Michael Chabon’s debut novel The Mysteries of Pittsburgh way back when I was a book store clerk in New Orleans. I quite enjoyed that novel and did my best to sell it once it was published. Sadly, less than three years after the publication date The Scarecrow is no longer available from Amazon in any print format.
In addition to The Scarecrow, I have also this weekend been re-reading Gary Jennings’ Spangle– a trilogy of novels about a circus troop in the days following the US Civil War and their travels in Virginia and across Europe and Russia. I first read these novels many years ago and have held on to the paperbacks, which I have enjoyed re-reading many, many times. Good stories, I have found, age well and continue to entertain and delight all these years after I first read them. One good thing about eBooks I am realizing is that they are mine forever, with no need to keep and save a relatively fragile physical artifact. Both Smashwords and Amazon allow readers to re-download any eBook they have acquired. Even when (inevitably) I have to replace my laptop or my tablet, the books I’ve acquired can be downloaded again onto whatever new devices I may purchase. In my heart I strongly suspect that I will always continue to cherish and re-read old paper books. But I have to say I really am genuinely excited about the new world of eBooks.