I recently flew between the US and Italy and this was what I saw next to me on that wing of the flight. Every person in one row reading a book on an electronic device. I have heard so many people say to me, “But it is NOT the same! I NEED a BOOK.”
It is an interesting argument, though as my partner has pointed out on more than one occasion, not really an accurate argument! What is it about the physical form of the book that we are so attached to? We want the feel and the smell of a “paper” book. We insist that reading is not the same, that the experience is not the same. Perhaps it indeed is NOT the same, but does that make it worse???
My partner pointed out to me that the book has not changed. It is true….. so very true. When we read the words of Mark Twain or Shakespeare they are the same exact words, whether they are in a printed paper book, on a Kindle, Nook, Sony eReader, iPad, or whatever other form it may take. The book has not changed. The words we read, the emotions the text invokes, the plot, the characters, the climax of the story…. NONE of these things have changed. Yet, we are so devoted to the form, we sometimes do not realize the aforementioned reality. We believe that a book is not a book if it is on a Kindle.
I must admit I was one of those people. I LOVE books. I have always LOVED books. Therefore, I could not even begin to fathom why on earth I would want an electronic device to replace my beloved paper books. I was a hold out. It was quite a few years before I bought my first eReader. I was not sure I would like this new thing. My first eReader was a Nook. I believe it took me all of about ten minutes to completely bond with it and fall head over heals in love! All these books at my fingertips, being able to travel without having to choose only one or two books (I could now bring my entire collection!) The saved bookshelf space – I was in heaven. Now, a year and a half later, our family owns one Nook, three (Yes, THREE) Kindles, and an iPad. Now I grumble and groan when the book I am reading is an actual book – it is heavy, awkward, and my hands fall asleep when I hold and read it in bed.
What a difference technological evolution makes…. for good, for bad, and sometimes just for……………….