I will admit, that there are certain things in life about which I can be a little bit of a snob. Although I am sure that Mrs. Seven would disagree with me. She would raise her eyebrow and say “little bit?”
I drink filter coffee and espresso brew rather than cheap coffee. (And I judge people who call it expresso.)
I turn up my nose, and say “No, but I read the book,” whenever asked about a film adaptation.
And I believe that Kindles and E-Book readers are not the same as real books, and will never replace them.
There are so many things you can do with a real book that you can never do with an e-book.
Kindle’s don’t feel like real books. Kindle’s don’t smell like real books. Kindles hurt your eyes to read.
Not to mention a few…. less obvious dangers.
So I was a little disappointed when two of the publishing houses that I get review copies from stopped shipping physical books out of the US, and would only send me e-books. I had tried reading e-books on my PC before, and it had not been a success. So I stopped reviewing for both of them for a few years.
Because reading the book is only 60% of the fun. The other 40% is having a nice clean book to put on my shelf, and that is one area where no number of e-readers will ever replace books.
But then a few months ago my wife bought a Galaxy Tab, and she uses it for work and at home as her main computer. And she started loading e-books onto it. And she started reading from it. A lot.
Many of the classic books you can download for free.
So now I have a huge library of free, and cheap, books on my ‘phone. And I am actually enjoying reading them there.
Don’t get me wrong, I still prefer a real book. And I think real books (a) look good on your bookshelf (b) hurt your eyes less after a day of working on a computer and (c) are cooler, there are certain benefits.
- I have my library where-ever I go. I am currently reading Persuasion by Jane Austen, and I keep a copy next to my bed to read at night. However if I am out and waiting in a queue or in a waiting room, and I want to carry on, I can just go to my e-book version.
- Jumping to footnotes and chapters by touching the numbers is pretty cool.
- I can download samples before buying the actual book.
- I don’t have to worry about packing 5 different books when I travel, because I have them all on my ‘phone.
- Having a book delivered electronically takes a lot less than the 6-9 weeks I sometimes wait for overseas delivery.
I think it was Stephen Frye who said “E-readers will never replace books, just as escalators will never replace stairs.” And he might be right, although I suspect that e-readers will take a huge market share away from printer books, and possibly push them out of our comfortable price-range.
But for now I like to think of them the same as card games on my cell-phone. I still prefer to play patience with real cards, and I am a bit of a card fanatic. And for me, playing solitaire on the ‘phone or the laptop will never replace playing with real cards. However there are some games that take soooo long to set up properly, and then they are over so fast, that it can be fun occasionally to just play them on an electronic device. So occasionally when I am waiting for a meeting I might pull out my ‘phone and have a quick round of Klondike or Spider Solitaire. But i am sure the pack of cards understands.
What about you? Do you use an e-reader? Do you prefer books or e-books?