What truly makes a book important? That’s a question that warrants more than one answer as books mean so many different things to so many people. When asked, the practical might say that it’s paper and binding and budgets that matter. They might even say it’s the high revenue of sales and author celebrity status that gives real weight to what publishers are producing for their readers. While all of that does carry some truth to it, I think the importance of books goes far beyond that. The importance of books isn’t merely summed up in practicality, but flourishes in emotional connectivity.
Whether the love of reading came to us at a young age or later in life, many of us can still remember how it felt to open a book for the first time. To us, that first page was the beginning of a lifelong romance. Each book we picked up offered us a new world, a new perspective, and a new set of characters to love (or hate). Some books made us laugh, some made us cry. Some taught us invaluable lessons while others gave us encouragement we needed. There were even those books that left a sense of loss in our hearts once we regrettably reached the end. We’ve spent both rainy days and sunny days, short commutes and long road trips, and spare moments and late nights with our noses buried within the pages of our current treasure. We’ve shared our love among fellow bibliophiles with great excitement and grandeur without shame. And, although we’d rather not admit it, we occasionally picked up a book that we’d rather not finish, but we attempted to anyway.
I’ve heard books be described as a friend, and I can see the resemblance. Just as we welcome friends into our lives, we welcome books. We spend hours browsing bookstore shelves until we stumble upon just what we were looking for. Some books will stay on our shelves long after we’ve finished reading them because we find a great sense of nostalgia to gloss over the spine of a favorite story. Sometimes we will even find ourselves reading these same stories over and over again because that is where we find our comfort. In loneliness; in heartache; in love; in life; books will always be there waiting for us to open them at exactly the right time.
So, where does the importance really lie? It all begins with an author’s desire to share their stories with the world. Not only do they want to create, but they want to create with a sense of purpose. From fiction to biographies to comic books to poetry to the spaces in between, there is a place for everyone in the book world. Each page grants us a moment to escape the confines of ordinary life, even just for a moment. Books thrive on our love for them and it’s this love that keeps us returning to bookshops in search of something new, something old, or something unique. These aren’t “just books” to a multitude of readers, but odes to the world’s need for adventure, emotion, beauty, knowledge, and innovation.