I prefer to read eBooks rather than physical books. There I’ve said it. To some what I’ve stated is heresy and would have me burned at the stake, but I can’t get over that it’s the way I now read most of my books these days. A few years ago, I never dreamt that I’d be making such a statement.
Books are gorgeous containers for wonderful words. Inside they hide new universes waiting to be discovered, fantastic worlds brought to live or even the familiar interpreted in an enlightening manner. They are more than this though. To spend an afternoon in a bookshop is heaven. Gazing at the beautiful covers that delight the eye, taking them off the shelf and breathing in the heady aroma of new books, or even better old books heightens the pleasure of browsing. There is something deeply comforting about the entire process. Then the absolute ecstasy of those novel words, sentences and paragraphs springing to life through my eyes. What could replace that sheer contentment?
Yes, physical books are so much more than words. Yet these days I do read less and less physical books. I prefer the words to spring to life out of a tablet or e-reader. It’s way more convenient to read this way. I can take loads of books with me when I travel. I’m never short of a new read or stuck on the bus with nothing to do. eBooks have changed my life. Yes, they’re cold, mechanical, and not an object you can fall in love with and there is no smell. They’re also a hell of a lot lighter to read in bed.
However, it matters not one iota what the container of words is. Like a person, the outside appearance isn’t nearly as important that what is contained within and it's in the words that a books soul and real personality lies. Those wonderful worlds are the same on e-paper as they are on real paper. The imagination is the same. Words flow through the eyes to be brought to life in the mind. The visions they create are not diminished by the method of delivery.
I still have my afternoons in bookshops around the country. I still delight in spending hours browsing the shelves and choosing my books. Yes, I am influenced by the cover, how can you not be? I still take the books to the counter and take them home. There is something incredibly satisfying about the entire process, but when I get home, I tend to read the books on my tablet or kindle. I still buy books, as much as I did before, but prefer the convenience of an e-reader. I wish books came with a free e-copy though.
I know this is a thorny issue with readers and authors, but wondered how others think?
Maybe the same thing happened back when parchments changed to bound books ?