In My Hand

newpinkumbrellalogoYesterday a small package arrived with two author copies of Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes. I’d sort of been expecting it; when I saw the pink umbrella on the envelope I knew what it was. (And I already know what I’m getting family and friends for Christmas this year–LOL!)

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It still took me a little bit by surprise, though. In this era of e-books and Kindle Unlimited and Print-on-Demand, paperbacks are something of a novelty.

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Illustration from “Little Women,” 1870. Library of Congress. From Lapham’s Quarterly

I mean, really, this is a book about the 150th anniversary of Little Women. This iconic picture of Jo March also represents her creator Louisa May Alcott: a woman, pen in hand, writing on paper, “scribbling” in the attic. It has to be on paper.

Or does it? Wouldn’t Louisa have at least dabbled in e-publishing if she had the chance? My guess is, yes, absolutely. She would have published her plays and potboilers and gained a wide following on the internet. And Friedrich Bhaer would just have had to smile and get over it.

But there’s still something special about holding your book in your hand:

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18 thoughts on “In My Hand”

  1. I actually love the freedom of my Kindle and ebooks – I can carry a huge library with me wherever I go and I can even adjust the back lighting and font size etc to suit my needs and location. However, there are some books that must be in the original form to be properly enjoyed. Anything with illustrations of significance is one example that comes immediately to mind. I don’t have that many actual books in my physical library anymore but most of them are either books for children and young people that have amazing illustrations or are “how to” books with tables and graphics that are best presented on a larger printed page.

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    1. I know what you mean. I love the kindle for traveling especially. Schlepping paper reading material around can make me pretty cranky! And as I’ve said elsewhere, I really don’t love the smell of books, new, old, or otherwise. Sometimes they trigger my allergies, which is not a lot of fun. Someday I’m going to get a Little Free Library (with a geocache) and use that to re-home some of the paper books I have that I don’t read anymore. But there was still something about seeing my own book in paper that was special! It doesn’t seem to ever get old 🙂

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  2. I’m stil a fan of paper. I’ve read a few e-books, but I never seem to connect with them the way I do with a real book. It could be a generational thing, but from what I’ve read th growth of ebooks slowed down some years ago.

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    1. Sometimes I like paper, but one thing I do not share with most bibliophiles is a love of the smell of old books. I actually find that smell unpleasant and a little depressing. I also can feel overwhelmed by too much paper and too many books in a room or a house. So I like my kindle, especially for traveling. Still, I think the publisher did a great job with this Little Women book. The paper has a nice feel and even a nice smell! It’s a book you’d feel excited about giving or getting as a gift.

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    1. Yes! I’m still getting used to seeing KL though. I decided to write as KL after reading something that JK Rowling had written about choosing initials. Obviously female names are still viewed differently from male names, or gender-neutral names. Even in this day and age!

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  3. Hi Karen – well done … so pleased that they’ve arrived … enjoy – and I’m sure she’d have experimented with all modes of publication and marketing … cheers Hilary

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