(Be warned I proper geek out about books, if this is your first and lasting impression of me I’m sorry in advance).
The paper book, one of my favourite pastimes is slowly dying. As a child there was seldom a time my head wasn’t wedged between the inside of a book. But the face of the book is changing as the technological revolution engulfs the modern day. The dreaded rise of the e-book is slowly poaching paperback readers to the screen side and they are now casting paper books aside like a forgotten first-born. The Kindle is a relatively new device, compared to the book anyway, that allows the reader to have access to millions of books on one tablet. It is the bane of my life. As a lover of paper books, the kindle is my kryptonite (slight exaggeration but you get the impact I’m going for).
The smell of a new book, the feel of the pages, the weight of the book in my hands adds to the experience of reading itself. It adds a new dimension to the whole process of following a story. Call me old fashioned, because I really am.
Books can keep for endless bounds of time, on shelves, as decorations, as coasters, you can’t do that with a kindle! Plus, they’re more convenient; they can’t die on you because they’re already a dead tree (that took a dark turn but I’m not wrong)!
If these were shelves full of kindles it'd just be grey, what a dull colour.
I understand that kindles are kinder to the environment, without the need for paper which is possibly the one thing I admire about the technology. However, the literary classics and their authors I believe deserve much more than being read on a tablet. Miss Havisham’s description in Dickens' Great Expectations is something I will always associate with the paper book, the day I sat down and began to read with the sensations of the crisp pages and the smell of the book. More exaggeration here, I just sat in my living room and read it, I’m not THAT much of a nerd. (Sure, Jan)
I accept that I have a biased view which (ever so slightly) leans towards the paper book. But articles have been published that do suggest that reading a paper book is better if you really want to absorb what you are reading. Traditional books can take you away, literally transport you to another land and as can the kindle but the notion that paper can do this is a lot more attractive than something like an iPad, to me anyways.
The whole experience of being in a Waterstones surrounded by shelves upon shelves of books is one of my joy’s in life. The works of Orwell, Murkami and Christie at my disposal is something special. The avid search for your next read is one which I wholeheartedly love. I remember when I got my first library card when I was 10 for my local library and begging my parents to drive me there so I could take more books out! I think we can all agree that I was an annoying kid...
A fab book if you like dystopian novels!
But the lost joy of paper reads is slowly being revived. YAY. Younger generations are the drive behind this, preferring physical books to e-readers. The reason for this shift is due to young people used the paper book as a break from social media. That’s according to Steve Bohme, research director at Nielsen Book Research UK which published data regarding the paper book sale against the e-readers.
Cheers Steve, you’ve successfully restored my faith in my generation! The physical book is still being side-lined by e-readers like the Kindle but the slow death could be reversed if we carry on the trajectory of favouring physical books to the dreaded Kindle.
My closing statement comes in the form of a photo:
This work of art by Mexican artist Jorge Méndez Blake aptly called 'The Impact of a Book' illustrates the effect and change a book can have on a person, the paper or the e-reading kind. But honestly would a kindle raise an entire wall to the extent that Frank Kafka's El Castillo paper version does, the answer is unequivocally no.
After all of that I can confirm that geeking out is good for the soul, trust me!
Now don’t get me started on record players and vinyl…