Opinion

A Novel Idea – E-books and traditional books

electronic books

Think back to your childhood. Now think back to your favourite childhood book. I bet you know exactly where that book is right now. But fast forward 30 years and that may no longer be the case…

E-books are rapidly outselling real books. They can be read on Kindles, iPods, smartphones and computers so it seems to make sense that they are more convenient and cost effective to the customers. This however will not convert me. I like nothing better than taking my book out of my bag and settling down to read it. It would also be very impractical to read a Kindle in the bath. Somehow I don’t think putting a Kindle on the radiator to dry would be quite the same. I don’t see how you could get the same enjoyment from reading off a screen. The e-book market is continually growing with e-books becoming more and more popular.

Children now being born into the ‘Digital Age’ may never know the difference if they read electronic books from when they first start to read. One stage that I remember going through at school was reading books that had no actual words just pictures. The idea was that you got to make up the story yourself, allowing your creative spark to ignite. I don’t see these types of books being available in an electronic form.

The worst case scenario I cannot help but imagine is this. You are on a long train journey, and are happily reading your e-book, not a care in the world. When all of a sudden (okay not all of a sudden, but it comes as a surprise because you have been so engrossed in your book you have not noticed the warnings) the battery on your device dies. What are you meant to do for the remainder of the journey? And how long will you have to wait to find out what happens? This would not happen with a real book. For me there is nothing more rewarding than finishing the final page of a story and closing the cover with a flourish. Turning off a screen would not have the same sense of accomplishment.

An e-book cannot be borrowed from a library. Nor can it be bought in a shop. It is a shame that so many libraries in the country have closed. Gone are the days when you would go at the weekend with your mum and spend ages carefully choosing your books, then handing over your card and getting the books stamped. Now it can all be done online. While I am all for moving forward, and in many respects admire the evolution of technology, the e-book is a phenomenon that can quietly just pass me by thank you.

Now back to the favorite child hood book, the one with the pages well worn and held together with cellotape. The one that has your name written in the front in bold writing so as to make sure everyone knows it was yours. It would be a sad day if when future children and grandchildren ask to see your favorite book all you have to show them is some writing on a screen. No stories to go with it about how you almost lost it once, or how you used to read it every night before bed, just some text on a screen.

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