By Jeff Salter
Okay, I understand that the newest generation has been raised – IS being raised – with nearly all information (except perhaps traditional highway signs) in electronic form. Yeah, I realize print is more expensive, time-consuming … and uses byproducts from trees. Sure, I know that you can hold many hundreds of titles on a reading device, whereas those same copies in print would fill a room.
Yeah, the digital revolution is here.
But don’t take away my REAL books. Please.
I grew up loving books … back when ‘book’ meant many pages bound together. I’ve read nearly all my life and 99.4% of that reading was on paper. I like the dimensions of a real book — the heft, the smell, the touch.
Electronic reading is too sterile for me.
Yes, I broke down and got a Kindle Touch about a year ago. Yes, I have hundreds of novels stored on it. Yes, they’re a LOT cheaper than print copies. Yes, I’ve read several. No, the words are not different than they would be if it were paper-based. But it’s a totally different experience.
As I’m writing this, I have in front of me one volume of a seven volume set of Louisa M. Alcott’s works. They are my wife’s books, handed down (I believe) from her grandmother. Printed in 1892 by Roberts Brothers of Boston. Frontispiece and other illustrations throughout. Binding specifications: gathered and sewn, rounded and backed. Decorated spine and front cover. According to the price list in the last pages, this volume sold for the princely sum of $1.50.
Folks, those are books!
As a word of context for my views on hardcover and paperback books, I guess I should explain that I was involved with the library profession for about 30 years. Entered it, in part, because of my life-long love of BOOKS. Back then, books were books… period.
Nobody asked, but here are some of the reasons I don’t like reading a book on a device.
* batteries discharge … and sometimes die completely.
* I worry that the books I “own” in digital form could disappear with one burst of concentrated magnetism … or that ‘pulse’ I keep reading about which will fry everybody’s databases and drives.
* mine is difficult to navigate. I can’t put down book ‘A’ and go look for book ‘B’, or check something in book ‘C’ … without getting lost in the screens.
* navigation (and operation) has become my predominate activity instead of reading… and it occupies more time. Aggravating rather than relaxing.
* often on the touch screen, my touch does not advance the page … or it advances TWO pages instead. Or it sends me to a menu, or it does something else that I don’t want.
* with several of the titles I’ve read on my Kindle, I’ve never seen the book’s cover art. When I can successfully locate the search function and actively search for the cover, it’s still rare for me to actually find the cover anywhere.
* I have a dozen other aesthetic reasons that I prefer print over electrons, but I can’t think of them all right now.
What about YOU? Do you (A) love digital readers, (B) hate digital readers, or (C) use the readers AND still read print books?
Which type of device do you have and do you like its workings?