Wednesday, August 4, 2010

books or ebooks?

The first thing I see when you walk into Barnes & Noble is a booth selling the Nook or Kindle. Reading ebooks has become extremely popular, especially since you can access them on your ipod, itouch, phone, or whatever portable electronic device you carry around, but I don't think convenience can ever replace the real thing. Similar to how the music industry suffered from illegal downloading and mp3s, the print industry is now suffering from digitalized access, and I personally think its a shame. Staring at my laptop screen as I eat Sunday brunch with my family (in a restaurant, no less) seems ridiculous, whereas reading them in paper form is our weekend ritual. I spent a large portion of my childhood reading at the dinner table and reading as I walked home from school (no joke)-- I don't think the habit would have been as easily acceptable if my eyes were glued to a screen of some sort (I was deprived video games as a kid on the premise that it would ruin my eyes. How futile-- I probably ruined them anyway by reading in bed.). 

But really, a kindle that is stuffed to the terabytes with books can't be the same as browsing shelves of books, smelling the old-bookish smell, and reading them on the swing in the backyard. I don't think convenience is the reason that kids camp out each year for the newest Harry Potter book. What's a little electronic file to the cracked spines of some well-loved books? The thickness and weight of a good book in your hands is completely separate from the device that you use daily to schedule appointments or check your emails. Its the ticket to an adventure you can choose for yourself, separate from the daily clutter in life. It's the reason I continue to tuck books in my purse and fill my bookshelf to its double-stacked edges, and I don't plan on stopping. 


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