An open letter to J.K. Rowling

An open letter to J.K. Rowling

You have brought so much to so many people.

The first and foremost is that you shared Harry Potter with us.  Like other great works of literature (Tom Sawyer, the Oz books, The Jungle Book) we feel like we know the people.

They aren’t just characters in a book…for so many readers, they are friends.

Imperfect friends, certainly…you had the bravery to give even your heroes flaws. 

The books are an incredible journey.  Children can grow along with Harry: brave Harry, angry Harry, self-pitying Harry, heroic Harry…human Harry.

I can’t tell you how excited I was to read that you and the Christopher Little Agency are looking at publishing Harry Potter in e-book form!

Paperbooks are beautiful, magical…they have been part of my life for longer than I can remember, and still are.

I know how fortunate I’ve been to be able to afford the books I have.  I feel incredibly privileged to have a floor to ceiling library in my home, with one hundred year old hardbacks steps away from rare genre paperbacks.

Just because my family valued books and I’ve never been without them is not the only reason I feel lucky.

I’ve never had a physical condition that put inexpensive books out of my reach.

My understanding is that you’ve felt the physical presence of multiple sclerosis in your life…and have contributed resources to others who have.

I’m aware of people with debilitating conditions who have had the physical Harry Potter books torn apart to make them easier to read.  I know how hard that must be for people who love books.

I’ve read about older people who had their ability to read returned to them by e-books, especially by the enlarging text sizes.

E-books make books more affordable to those with limited resources, and more them accessible to those with physical challenges.

It’s amazing to me that anyone with access to a computer or an e-book reader can get Shakespeare, Dickens, Doyle, Dostoevsky, Burroughs, and Alcott with means and distance as no barriers.  It has literally allowed a charity group* to bring the world’s literature to orphans in Ayenyah, Ghana. 

The accessibility aspects of e-books allow those with challenges to share the books that family members have…sisters and brothers can read the same ones.  That may seem like a small thing: but for the blind or debilitated to be able to get the books they want at the exact same places and in the same ways as everyone else…it takes away one more thing that makes them feel separated.

On behalf of the millions of people who want to buy your books as e-books, I thank you for your openness in considering adding a few more cars to the Hogwarts Express.

* Worldreader.org

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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