E-Books. They are a hot topic of debate among many, myself included. I didn't realise just how much this is still the case until a couple of days ago when I was taking some photos to accompany this post, one I have been wanting to write for some time. One snap I particularly liked depicted me in my happy place - curled up with my cat, a cup of tea, and a book. Only thing is, the "book" in question is one I'm reading via kindle. I posted this on Facebook and within just a couple of minutes, a friend commented "Paper books please!" with another soon commenting "Viva Kindle!" and one "e-readers all the way"... turns out people still very much have an opinion on the topic!
When e-books first came to my attention a few years back, I was staunchly against the very idea of these devices. God, do I sound like a grumpy old nana or what?! I think I saw the arrival of e-readers as the beginning of the end for the physical book, and no idea could sadden me more. I was horrified at the idea of one day walking into a house and instead of seeing glorious shelves filled to overflowing with beautiful books, I would see a sparse, cold space, one lonesome screened device sitting on the coffee table. Books are one of my very favourite things in life, and I hated the idea of a world without them.
It was a Christmas or two back that I unwrapped the above Kindle as a present. As it so happened, I was away at a holiday home at the time and, as is common when you are away on a lazy break in an area with no cell phone reception (shock horror), I had picked up a book from the many on the shelves and started reading it. I was aware I was fast running out of time to finish it and so, when it came time to leave and I was loving the story but unable to take it with me, I downloaded it on my new Kindle and finished it over the next few days. I have been an avid Kindle fan ever since. Not that I prefer them to physical books, but I appreciate they definitely have their time and place, and this was one of them.
There's also something to be said for my current predicament. I am re-locating to the other side of the world at the end of the year. In just a couple of months I will literally be packing up my life. The fact of the matter is, I can't take my books with me nor can I store them here. As much as it saddens me, I have to sell them. Thanks to my Kindle though, I am able to take these most loved stories with me and pull them out whenever I want, just as I would at home. Then, when I return or settle, I can buy back all these favourites of mine (and believe me, I will). So really, the two go hand in hand. Both allow you to access your favourite stories at will.
I am a book person, short and simple. I always will be. I love books and I frequent www.bookshelfporn.com (don't judge until you have checked it out. Dear Lord, it's glorious).
I love books - the joy, the culture, the knowledge they bring into our lives. The variety and experience we could never possibly garner on our own. I will always love the physical book - the smell of their paper; the way the binding creaks when a book hasn't been opened in a while; the weight of a novel in my hand; the turning of pages.
What I love the very most about books though is not their physical elements. While I appreciate these a lot, for me, they're not the be all and end all.
I love their words.
Their stories. The imagination they induce. The magic that happens when your eye reads their words put in that certain order that evokes images, emotions, even smells. The power of words. The power of good storytelling. This is the beauty of books and this is something that happens via the page be it electronic or physical. So long as people are still reading, we have not lost what books gave us. Kindles do not take away the magic and message of our favourite authors... they just change the way we receive it.
Me, I will always surround myself with books but at the end of the day, it's the story that I'm after, not the physically bound paper.
For me nothing beats curling up with a good story, a cup of tea in my hand and a cat on my lap. I am not robbed of the joy of reading simply because I am reading an electronic book rather than a physical one.
There are some definite advantages of e-books too:
They have the potential to save a lot of paper
When you're curious to have a cheeky read of a book everyone is talking about (cough, 50 Shades of Grey) but don't really want to be caught dead reading it - Kindles are here to help!
The sheer size of the story you are reading does not translate to e-book format. I am currently reading the 832 page whopper The Lumnaries for book club and find myself somewhat less disheartened by my slow progress than that of my friend who is reading the physical copy.
I for one have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to the evolution of electronic reading. It has granted me the ability to create and publish my own words that are now being read by you.
In short, a Kindle is something I never would have bought myself, but now that I have it... I can't quite imagine life without it. It's one of those things you never know you want, and you actually profess you actively don't want, but once one comes into your life, you realise they're not that bad after all.
So, to Kindle or not to Kindle? I guess I don't even have an answer. If you feel staunchly one way or the other, there is nothing wrong with that. In my opinion, so long as we are reading, we still have stories, we still have books, and we still have the magic of words that the authors blessed us with. Read it how you will... just read!