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e-Classics anyone?

You know what I did today ? Browsed the web for e-classics.
It was heartwarming to see that so many titles were available for free. I could find free books in all categories, fiction & non fiction. I was thrilled to find a lot more titles available in the selection of Bret Harte's short stories. I thought I had read them all. Same was true about Jane Austin whose 2 more novels are available online -but not in the book stores.

Are e-books here to stay ? I somehow feel it will be a long time before the society becomes truely paperless. The harm this constant reading online is going to do to our eye sight is something that is not difficult to imagine. But a true reader doesn't fear myopia
I remember - when I was young, my father used to scold me that I will go blind before twenty if I keep reading day & night !!! I just doubled the quota of books -Because I better finish as many books as possible before that happens and even toyed with the idea of learning braille !!!!

Where do e-books fit in with the reading habits of people ?

Can you take your e-book to bed at night , keep reading till you feel pleasently drowsy & fall asleep with your e-book on your chest ?

Can you carry your e-book with you & sit on a park bench ?

Can you lend your e-book to a friend with firm reminders to 'return it or else' ?

Can you inhale the smell of a new e-book like I do with every new book I buy ?

Can you go hunting for e-books into old e-book stores- looking for treasures among dusty shelves- trying to read the previous owner's name & wonder why a Miss Julie Fernandes found it necessary to underline every sentimental passage in the book with red ink ?

Some readers even try to help by writing on the inner cover ' Not worth the money I spent ' You don't just buy a book - but also a piece of the previous owners history.

I once found a whole collection of beautiful hard bound books that looked like they came from some one's cherished library. I read the name on the yellowed page- F.R.E. Dadibhoy. & wondered what they were doing on the side walks of Matunga . I wanted to buy them all. That was one of the very few times I wished I was a millionaire !!
By the dates on the cover it was clear that Mr. Dadibhoy couldn't still be around to read the books. But couldn't the heirs to his fortune provide a home for them ?

May be the books were regarded as a 'Nuisance' - taking a lot of space & collecting dust. May be in the place of the bookshelves they now have a giant TV to watch latest DVDs & CDs, & may be a state of the art computer.... on which they now read e-books !!!

May be I am not destined to be loved by the trees :(

( This was written 2 years ago, but the sentiments remain unchanged.)

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