Friday 17 March 2017

‘Real’ books can roam

I love my ‘real’, paper and print, hard copy books. But for Christmas, I received a brand new Sony tablet—and now I have of course discovered the many pluses of e-books. I can download them easily. They are cheaper. My Tablet is quite easy to carry anywhere in my handbag. And, for those of us trying to cut down the number of books on our shelves, those e-books are a boon.

There are several reasons I still enjoy my ‘real’ books, however. For me, there is something pleasurable and comforting about holding them—no doubt a result of those many hours spent curled up reading as a child. Also, unlike my tablet, they don’t need recharging! Besides, I often lend out my books—and, while I understand Amazon has a couple of different e-book lending options now, not everyone has an e-reading device/app. Also, one option has a lending period of only fourteen days, which would not be long enough for some of my friends. Anyway, it is much easier for me just to reach over to my bookshelf and grab that ‘real’ book for them.

I love to hear how my own books have roamed in this way. Recently, a friend from times past sent me such an encouraging message about my latest book, Becoming Me. I have not seen her for many years, although I was aware that another mutual friend always sends her a copy of any new book of mine, usually as a birthday or Christmas gift. Then, out of the blue, she contacted me via Facebook.

‘Hi Jo-Anne,’ she began. ‘Thank you for your new book. I couldn't put it down—loved it. I read portions of it to my fourteen-year-old granddaughter who needed your testimony at that time.’

Wow! It blew my mind to think of my friend reading some part of Becoming Me out to her granddaughter. But then she went on to explain that she has now lent the book to her daughter-in-law, the mother of this particular granddaughter, to read. After that, she told me, she plans to pass it onto a good friend. What a journey that little book of mine has had and will have in the future! How many more hands will it pass through in the next little while? Probably quite a few, knowing my old friend! Where will it roam next? Where will it end up?

I remember too a time when someone found my first novel Heléna in a second hand bookstore and bought it. This led her to read other novels of mine and also my first memoir Soul Friend. She then lent her copy of Soul Friend to a colleague going through a difficult time—and God used it in a special way to encourage this person to move forward in her life. Now I have no idea if the person who originally donated my novel Heléna to that Vinnies store even read it before doing so, but I’m so glad that book of mine kept roaming—until it found the right reader who, as it turned out, would then enable other books of mine to roam even further.

How about you? Do you too have an encouraging ‘book roaming’ story to share with us—or perhaps an opinion on ‘real books’ versus e-books? Please go ahead!

Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne is passionate about touching hearts and lives through the written and spoken word. She is the author of six published novels and two non-fiction works, ‘Soul Friend’ and ‘Becoming Me’. Jo-Anne is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and four grandchildren. For more information, please visit


  1. Hi Jo-Anne, what a lovely story about the journey that copy of "Becoming Me" went on. I'll never tire of 'real' books and I have a particular thing for hardbacks. But ebooks are a wonderful way of sampling new authors and allow all sizes of stories to be easily packaged, i.e., novellas, novella/short story collections, triple-packs, etc. And their pricing make them irresistible to us book junkies.

    1. Hi Ian! Yes, I was very touched by that 'Becoming Me' story, particularly as I hadn't seen that friend for years. And I do agree with you that e-books are a great way of sampling new authors--I am finding that out more and more as I get used to using my lovely new tablet.

  2. I have some ebooks on my computer, but I don't have a tablet, so they aren't portable. I find that I just don't read them.
    My bookshelves are bulging (and I have a large quantity of my library sitting in boxes), but I just can't give up buying new books. I love holding them, smelling them - there's just something about the smell of new books - and I also love sharing them. I have a few friends who have had my books for more than 12 months - one of which is so useful that I bought a 2nd copy so that I would have one for me and one to lend.
    I'm also a big re-reader, so if I was ever to travel extensively I'd want to have a portable option for reading, but then I'd have to buy some of my books again in e-format, something I currently baulk at doing, since I've already paid for them once.

    1. It's a dilemma, isn't it, Beth, when we love our books as much as you obviously do and also when you are a 're-reader', which I am too (well, of some books I particularly love anyway). And yes, I love that smell of new books--but I don't mind the smell of old ones either! We are on holidays right now and just today, I found a wonderful second-hand bookshop with books priced as low as three for one dollar. Couldn't resist!

    2. Old books smell good too! I've often bought some at Op shops.


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