Do you remember the first book you ever read?
Not one your parents read out loud to you, but the first physical book you read. At last the scribbles scrawled across the page formed words, and the words formed a meaning. It finally meant something, and if that wasn't enough, your family began wildly cheering for you as if you were child prodigy merely because you uttered the words, "green eggs and ham."
For me this moment was long anticipated, as I was what some may call a "slow learner" -- the last to master reading in my kindergarten class. When I finally picked up that Dr. Seuss book and made sense of it, however, it was as if the floodgates had opened. I read everything I could: the signs on the way to school, the books scattered around the classroom at playtime. Reading was like crack, and I was an addict.
I found myself spending a great portion of my time at our local bookstore. They had an event called "Pajama Night," where my friends and I partook in the thrill of wearing our PJs out in public and hearing stories read out loud.
I've always found bookstores to be enchanting. I marveled at each brilliant, artistically designed cover, while still being reminded not to judge them purely on that aspect.
Times have changed, however. The books we all know and love are being read on tablets instead of hard copies. Amazon is replacing bookstores, and talented writers are being overlooked.
I suppose people still read on their Kindles, iPads and smartphones, but there's definitely something warm and real about a physical book as opposed to a cold, sterile E-book.
More importantly, bookstores around the nation are being forced out of business because of the Internet's presence. I remember the day the Borders in Turkey Creek shut down. It reminded me of the song lyrics of Joni Mitchell, "Paved paradise and put up a parking lot," or in this case, put up an Ulta.
Since the close of Borders, I find myself at McKay much more often. For those of you unfamiliar with the area, McKay is a store for "used books, CD's and more," a place for customers to exchange old favorites in order to find new ones. If not to find a used book for cheap, it's definitely a great place as a college student to make fast cash.
McKay in some ways restores my hope that physical books could make a comeback. Right now vinyls are returning to shelves despite the convenience of iPods. There's been a recent preference to the nostalgic and physical presence only a record player could provide.
A recent New York Times article by Daniel Power suggests that the return of bookstores is in the hands of the owners and managers. "You, bookstore owner and manager are your most important marketing element (much like any author for trade book houses — it certainly is for ours). Your duty is — and your passion should be — to delight and intrigue with titles and things that delight and interest you. And let them know about it. Blog it. Tweet it. Be sure to include a picture."
Perhaps using the Internet as a way to market bookstores would be a suggested approach; however, a bookstore is nothing without its consumers -- us.
Our generation is most likely to blame for the transition from shelves to online. Many of us have forgotten the childlike wonder we once possessed when we held that very first book. However, bookstores offer a tranquil getaway to college students during these stressful times.
The bottom line: nothing is quite like a physical book. They may be heavy and bulky, but nothing could compare to the aroma, the artwork and craftsmanship only a physical book possesses.
Kaila Curry is a freshman in English. She can be reached at email@example.com.