A lot has been said about e-books – their efficiency, unburnability, growing popularity – especially on the back of the popularity of the devices where they’re consumed.
But for now, I prefer books. And, I suspect, a lot of book lovers do too.
For one, we’re book lovers. Not story lovers, or fiction lovers. Book lovers. Perhaps self-help cr*p is ok on the Kindle, but an eWodehouse?
I persoanlly prefer old, used books. The slightly yellow pages, straightened out dog-ears. The fact the book has been read/appreciated already. Its one of those things you cannot be rational about, can you? I have even bought books with a page or two missing, sometimes, and reconstructed the lost bits in my imagination.
And what do you do with an ebook once you’ve read it? The Brysons and the Douglas Adams, the Narayans, the Scott Adams and the assorted unknown authors go right back to the shelf, reminding me of themselves, the characters and lives and imaginary worlds I inhabited for the while I read them – each time I pass by or happen to look at them.
I walk into people’s homes, and the books there tell me something. They become starting points for conversations. They invite one to pick-one-up and browse, even if one never intends to read them.
A few books in the bag make one look forward to the vacation, or a train journey. You could share one with fellow travellers. And the kids pick their own.
I’ve never used bookmarks. I visually and from memory try and get back into the story.
I sometimes read ahead and skip some bits. Some bits, once in a while, are speed-read.
Some passages are re-read again.
Dozing off in the afternoon on a hammock or an easy chair, with the book open at somewhere around where I lost track of where I was, is one of the strongest memories of “a relaxed time”.
E-books reduce books to merely their content, and that again consumed in very restricted ways. On an electronic device, even my imagination is in suspend mode. E-devices often suck you into the screen – not the world that the words suggest. Being mesmerized and fascinated are very different things.
Doesn’t kindle my fire, sorry.
Technology assumes everything has one function – books are for the content, and movies for an individual to watch. Social, behavioral interactions, group dynamics etc are completely ignored. Try going bowling all by yourself – unless you’re a very serious “bowler” (is that the word?) – a fun social event will be reduced to a pointless, boring activity!