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No Substitute | by Patrick Feller
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No Substitute

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I am a fan of putting books online. There are parts of the country and of the world that have limited access, at best, to books, and no access to some titles. If the rights of readers and buyers and sellers and authors and publishers and libraries are protected, if publishing online does not pull existing volumes from circulation, if it increases access for all, and decreases access for none, I'm for it, subject to further consideration.

 

Nothing, though, can replace the actual experience of real books, with covers and pages, real books that can show wear and dogears and notes.

 

There is a feeling of discovery in perusing the shelves in a library, bookstore, thrift shop, flea market, garage sale, or friend's home and either finding some volume that is a forgotten old friend or one that shows promise of becoming a new one.

 

There is something extremely satisfying about being the first to open a new book, or opening an old book that one knows others have enjoyed for decades, or more, something comforting in turning pages, feeling the mix of emotions in that part read and that, dwindling, part left to read.

 

I remember how it felt to sit beside my daughter's bed and read to her ("If you give a mouse a cookie... "), to turn the pages and to have neither of us want the story to end. She has a home of her own now, a career, a life, and is growing a library with her husband, a library that is home to some of those books that she and I shared.

 

If you give a child a bedtime story, she'll probably want a book, and if you give her a book, she'll probably want a shelf full of books, and if you give her a shelf full of books, she'll probably want...

 

the World

    

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Taken on May 1, 2009