Books that Travel

There are travel books – and then there are books that travel. I’ll be sad if paperbacks go the way of the dinosaurs. There are so many wonderful reads I’ve stumbled across only because somebody left the paperback somewhere.

Make no mistake, I love my e-books…but I doubt anyone will ever toss their reader down somewhere that I’ll stumble across it and say: hmm….I wonder what these stories are all about?

…if you’re feeling that sort of urge, let me know in advance. I’ll travel for good words.

Recently I stopped at a rummage sale and discovered boxes and bags of old paperbacks. Old enough that they smelled musty and were moisture-damaged, covered with age-spots made of mold. I love that smell. I know, I know…something parasitic and gnarly will grow out my nose someday.

Most of them were from the 60s and 70s, but a few really nifty volumes (in deplorable condition) bore the unmistakable covers of 50s schlock. Over the years I’ve read prodigious numbers of paperbacks purchased under similar circumstances – some of them in such poor condition that you had to infer part of the story because the pages were melted together. One was so awful I wore gloves to turn the pages, but it was worth it.

I stood there in the gravel parking lot and looked at the hundreds of books and wondered – fifty years from now, will anyone be finding OUR books in such places?

For most us, probably not, and that makes me sad because some of the stories I’ve rooted out of obscurity I’d never have found in a bookstore.


Maybe something similar will happen with digital storage. I know there are tons of file-sharing sites, and wonderful repositories like Project Gutenberg, but you might want to think about printing one hard copy of each novel you write.

Cast it out onto the unsuspecting world and may it live a long life and visit much of the globe. Let your words begin the rounds.

Start with me, please.

Tags: old paperbacks, eReaders, eBooks, pulp fiction, old books

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  1. #1 by MISH on October 28, 2011 - 10:49 am

    I love my books… hardcover and paperback. I don't even possess a e-book reader/kindle, though I suppose I will eventually get one. After all, you can't fight technology!

  2. #2 by Tameri Etherton on October 29, 2011 - 2:53 am

    That is such a lovely thought… cast your book out into the world and let it live. How cool would it be to come upon someone who found your book and loved it and left it for another to read. Pretty darn cool.It's interesting, you and Naomi Bulger both posted about books today. Something must be in the air…

  3. #3 by Lesann Berry on October 29, 2011 - 4:29 am

    Hi MISH! Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I dearly love my books too, especially the hardcovers, but I'll admit that ebooks and ereaders feed the hoarder inside. Now I can cart around all my favorite characters in a compact psrcel. That makes traveling a lot easier.

  4. #4 by Lesann Berry on October 29, 2011 - 4:34 am

    Hi Tameri! I always wonder about the journey a book has undertaken, especially when they're battered and worn, weary and dilapidated…and just waiting to offer up another read like a wriggling puppy.I'm totally happy to be on the same cosmic wavelength as Naomi!

  5. #5 by Anonymous on October 29, 2011 - 2:05 pm

    e-pub is changing the way we look at things. I might have to buy some of my books- when they eventually come out- and scatter them around so they can start their own journey.

  6. #6 by Lesann Berry on October 31, 2011 - 3:18 am

    Anonymous – I think it's a great idea. Toss one out into the world and who knows, maybe it would circle the globe.

  7. #7 by Tammy on November 5, 2011 - 10:15 pm

    Check out this site:www.bookcrossing.comYou can release your books into the wild and follow their journey.

  8. #8 by Lesann Berry on November 8, 2011 - 3:52 pm

    Now this is a cool site, Tammy. You always find awesome little things like this.

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