Jenny Wells: Why paper and ink books are not going out of style |

Jenny Wells: Why paper and ink books are not going out of style

Jenny Wells

The paper and ink book is still an excellent choice of media to wrap and put under the tree or tuck into a stocking this holiday.

There was a time when the invention of e-books had the lover of paper and ink books nervous. Was the written word on paper going to fall to the wayside the same way the media delivery of music and video had changed? There are several reason why my experience tells me this is not the case.

Every day at my local bookstore, Jenny’s Paper and Ink Books, customers tell me how much it matters to them to hold a paper and ink book. They want to feel the pages. They love how books smell. Holding a paper and ink book is very different than holding an e-reader. Granted, I understand the appeal of the immediacy of receiving a book sample or being able to travel without the weight of several physical books.

But when it comes to what we want in our homes, it is still the paper and ink book.

We can display them, share them easily with friends, and collect them. If I read a book I love, I want a physical representation of that experience. The delivery of music has changed, but the quality of delivery has improved. It’s the same with video as TV size increases and we can stream many choices into the comfort of our living rooms. But the e-reader can’t replace or improve the joy of reading a book with improvement of the quality of the experience.

I joke with customers that a paper and ink book can fall into the bathtub or lake without the expense of, good heavens, an electronic device. The browsing of books at your local bookstore is still a wonderfully rich experience. Neil Gaiman, the author of American Gods and other excellent works of fantasy fiction, has famously said, “What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”

I encourage you to visit, enjoy the experience, and support our local bookstores. We all work hard to provide you a destination for lovers of all things books and reading and we are here to serve you. Our towns would not be the same without us, and your support really does make a difference.

But having said that, consider how purchasing a physical book can still be an economical choice, even in a brick-n-mortar store instead of online. At Jenny’s Paper & Ink Books, there are many new releases and best sellers in gently read conditions for several dollars off the cover price. Trade credit for your gently read books is available to apply to your purchase (more information at As a seller of used books, I clean every book and organize them so you can find just what you want when you visit. My prices are comparable to what you would pay for a used book online without the long wait or shipping charges!

I know of at least one local bookstore that provides purchasers of new books a rewards program and several of our thrift stores, including Animal Save’s Book Nook, have volunteers who spends hours sorting and caring for spaces that give you many choices for your next good read. And don’t forget our wonderful Friends of the Library and the excellent book sale they hold at the Doris Foley Library for Historical Research on the first Saturday of every month. Grass Valley and Nevada City offer so many options for readers and lovers of words printed on the page for prices equal or comparable to what you will find online.

May you have a wonderful holiday, full of special moments. May you have some cozy and long winter nights with a good book by the fire with your favorite warm drink. And if you have any children in your life, read them a good paper and ink picture book this winter. Generationally and traditionally, nothing can replace the delight of sharing the magic of a book.

Let’s grow lovers of all things books and reading, so the paper and ink book will always be a beloved gift for ourselves and others.

Jenny’s Paper & Ink Books is located at 134 Joerschke Drive in Grass Valley where the majority of the books are gently used paperbacks, including Bestsellers and New Releases. Choices at Paper & Ink include Romance, Westerns, Mysteries, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Suspense and Thrillers, Nonfiction, Classics, and Children’s. Visit for more information.

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