Calling all Bookworms! Feeling lost in the digital world?
Remember the comforting weight of a book in your hands & the satisfying rustle of turning pages?


I must believe printed books will endure in the digital age.

The other day, I visited a tiny independent book store in Dallas with the strange name, Interbang Books. On this especially stormy Saturday afternoon, I arrived early, propped my umbrella just outside. I wondered if anyone would attend the event on such a day. As I opened the door, I was surprised at the intoxicating smell of paper and ink, and the touchable feeling of the pages. Had I been too emersed in the digital age to forget something so important to me–books, real ones? My task was to moderate a guest appearance of author and friend Joanne Leedom-Ackerman who would talk about her latest book, The Far Side of the Desert.  Twenty or so white chairs were set in neat rows. One by one, people strolled in, many buying Joanne’s books and tucking them under their arms for later autographs. Visitors exchanged muted chatter as the storm raged outside. Soon, every chair filled for the full presentation. So, some people did care about books.

The store name intrigued me, and though I’ve been in the writing world for many years, I didn’t know its meaning. The interabang is a symbol that combines a question mark (an interrogative) and an exclamation point (a bang, in typesetting lingo). “This mark conveys the spirit of our independent bookstore and suggests the search for knowledge and the excitement of discovery,” say the three female owners on their website. The co-owners who love to read opened their doors in July 2017 in Preston Hollow. When the original bookstore was destroyed in a tornado in October of 2019, they moved to 5600 W. Lovers Lane west of the Dallas North Tollway.

The visit reminded me that physical books are, well physical. They give us the sense that we exist in a real world, and that we can touch others through stories. Digital books lure us because of efficiency and speed. They have their place in the “get it done” ether of modern times. But what will survive when the electricity goes out, or when there is a need for observance, scrutiny, contemplation, or when the human mind can no longer match the speed of supercomputers?

Books will live on if we allow them to remain. We will need a tactile world to remind us that we are still here, that we can suffer and heal, make considered judgments, and love in a way that only biological beings can.

For those longing to turn to something inspiring and real, I recommend a visit to Interbang, or any other neighborhood bookstore you can find. When Artificial General Intelligence takes over, we will need the warmth of books and stories to remind us who we are.