The smell of ink

Barnes and Nobles is for sale. Let me say that again. Barnes and Nobles, that mecca of yuppies and goths alike, partners to the Starbucks revolution, is for sale. Books don’t pay. They especially don’t pay in this age of 2.0, when we have PDFs available for free online, iPads, Kindles, and most texts a touch away on our cellphones. The overhead of running a storefront is crushing under the weight of operating online, and I just want to go on record as saying I don’t like it. I grew up spending every afternoon in my public library, a respectable historic building that smelled of mildew, dust, and waiting knowledge. Later in my career, I worked in the same buildings that housed the printing press of  whatever paper needed me at the time. The smell of ink was always in the air. Words are linked to me through smell, and a bookstore is more than books. Smell is the sense most powerfully tied to memory, and how do you gain that rich experience online once the bookstores close? Will the small, independent or used bookstores be next? Will they be relegated to the status of museums–places we go to see what books once looked like? And what of the cultural gap? Will it widen even more, with an avenue of cultural capital closed? Don’t get me wrong. I have lusted in my heart for an iPad, have wide-eyed flipped its digital pages, have imagined taking a roomful of books on vacation with me and packing them in the space of a Cosmo magazine. But every time I move, I still move the books. The ones I’ve marked passages in, the ones given me by loved ones, the ones that have marked my life. And I label them box after box, “books,” “books,” even “more damn books.” I carry them to my new home, valued members of my family. How many of the digital natives will know the smell of a book? Does it matter to anyone except us word nerds?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. xoxokittenxoxo
    Feb 09, 2011 @ 12:26:02

    hey Ms. D, I sittin in davenports class, 2nd block, (bored as h***) and i was readin all of ur blogs. One word to describe them all: FASCINATING! i like the way u put emotion into u blogs. lolz not tryin to sound retarded or anything but yea i no how u feel about da books. yea ben there done dat lolz same feeling i hav wen i walk into a store n i see all kinds of new horror/murder books n i jus want dem all! lolz but yup i haven’t ben readin alot latley or writing. i’m srry 4 my lack of lazliness 4 not turnin in all my work and all but alot of stuff has ben on my mind latley. n wen I mean alot I mean…ALOT! lolz im tryin to concentrate on all of my classes but I jus doze off and start daydreamin. Idk y but i jus do. wat im tryin to do now is push bak n ignore all the drama n pressure but…dat dont help lolz i wanted to write u a letter on how im doin and wat i’m feelin and wat is goin on with me: y i’m not doin gud on my assignments but…I jus havent find the rite words to tell u n idk i want to talk to sumbody but d onli person i can talk 2 u is…my journal lolz n evelyn too of course cnt 4get her lolz. idk y but ur like the onli teacher i can talk 2 u in dis scool da only one i can trust and da only one i can share all my secrets, life and everything else with. Ur da 2nd person i can trust n dis scool….bsides evelyn of course lolz…..well my words r gettin short now so hope 2 talk 2 u soon!!!!!! lolz 😀 😀 😀 😀

    -Peace n Luv! 😀


    • Pamela Dellinger
      Feb 09, 2011 @ 12:40:08

      Thanks for reading them. Sometimes I feel like nobody does, then I get a random comment from someone who lives halfway around the world (or who’s even just down the hall 🙂 You know I’m always up to talk about books or writing or anything else you want to. Friends are good. I’ve noticed things aren’t going great for you lately…what can I do to help? AND we need to get you writing again. Don’t forget to carve out some time in a quiet place ( in a drama free zone) to make your art happen…


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