An old-fashioned book with physical pages, a colourful cover, the smell of print or dust is surely a thing of beauty. Real books have a weight to them, an atmosphere around their being which could not easily be replaced.
In the opinion-flinging world of social media, though, I’ve noticed, a kind of ‘either/or’ mentality when it comes to talking about reading and technology, as though to profess a penchant for the e-reader alongside the old-fashioned page-turner were akin to choosing artificial intelligence over the human soul.
I enjoy my kindle. This doesn’t mean that books have ceased to have a place on my shelves, nor that I will stop buying them. Experience tells me there must be a place for both.
Here are three ways I think the electronic version can complement print:
If, like me, you balance the world of stories within the mundane tasks of daily life, you will have noticed that old fashioned books do not prop easily. E-readers do. They have lights and cases and all sorts of jazzy things which allow you to skim and scan and enter a parallel world wherever you are. If you like to read while waiting for something to grill or boil, or at traffic lights, or in the bath, e-readers are probably your thing.
Reading is a wonderful habit that should, imho, be public. There are times, though, when what you are reading is for your eyes only. Recently on public transport in Madrid scrolling through a British article about a Spanish political hot potato (or should I say ‘patata’), I didn’t feel like sharing. This is where the e-reader comes in, complete with attractive cover and absolutely no letting on what you’re raising your eyebrows about.
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Reading at night can be a great pleasure. Not everyone agrees. With an e-reader there’s no need to disturb anyone else with additional lighting. You can hide under the duvet for hours and the kindle even switches off when you do. Heaven!
I wonder whether the fear buzzing about online is based on the idea that there’s only space for one version of what the reading experience might mean. Isn’t it time we started to see both the printed page and the shining screen as companions with complementary skills?
Your thoughts and opinions as always are very welcome. 🙂