No Substitute

View On Black


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





  • maria182 6y

    Livros um bem precioso.
  • Patrick Feller 6y

    Precious indeed, Maria
  • Sian Bowi 6y

    I love books and I love your shot!
    This photo was loved in I Love Black and White!

  • Patrick Feller 6y

    Thank you, Sian. After visiting your Photostream, I feel especially honored.
  • Sebastian S 6y

    Very nice! I love these types of shots you do. There is an action involved and its a bonus that you have such a nice collection of books with character there. Keep it up!
  • Patrick Feller 6y

    That means a lot, sull3n. Thanks, friend.
  • smilla4 6y

    Your beautiful image and text strike a personal note. We lived overseas for ten years without a lot of things most people consider necessary. We always filled our suitcases with children's books to take back after our Summers in Maine. I remember staggering under the weight of them!
  • Patrick Feller 6y

    "staggering under the weight of" books

    I like that.

    After all the books and authors that have been burned, and others burned and hanged for ideas, it's always reassuring to know that there are still those willing to suffer for them, even in little ways, even if only between baggage pickup and the cab...
  • michellemscott36066 6y

    This is beautiful!
  • Steve Reid 6y

    very nice image! ... and your comments are right on!

    thank you ...
  • BodyEarth 5y

    Wonderful photo! I used it in my post. Thank you.
  • mommadowdy 4y

    Beautiful photo. I used it in my post:

    Thank you!
  • Patrick Feller 4y

    BodyEarth mommadowdy

    Thanks for the great use of the photo!
  • Traveljenn 4y

    I used your photo for a post about Creative Commons.
  • Patrick Feller 4y

    Traveljenn A great use of the photo and of Creative Commons. Thanks for the attribution
  • Erin Riker 2y

    What a beautiful photo & piece of writing! Thanks for sharing this, Patrick. I'm using it on my blog.
  • Patrick Feller 2y

    Erin Riker Thank you. I like the blog.
  • DJ Cockburn 9mo

    Many thanks for posting this under creative commons. I've used it on my blog at, attributing you and linking to this page.
  • Tom Fowler LJTX 10d

    Beautiful photo. And the volume of Cervantes brings me to this: I am currently reading Don Quixote in English translation made available and affordable through Kindle. However, I own a worn and torn volume in Spanish that spent part of its life in the University of Texas library. (I can see from the stamp on the first page. I assume that they retired it as damaged and beyond repair. I bought it in 1962 for 75 cents in a used book store.) I never attempted to read it in either Spanish or English.

    While Kindle has made it possible for me to enjoy the contents of a classic, I still enjoy holding the real book in my hands and looking up passages in the original Spanish. The book just has the smell and feel of its history

    Also, your words about your daughter and reading to children. They match my own experience so well.
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