Call me old fashioned but I still prefer hard copy books to eBooks, which is weird since I am a techie or so I am told. Something about the hard copies makes them feel more authentic. The smell of paper being illuminated by the evening sun and the aroma of 4 O’clock ginger tea.
Ever since I can remember, I have always paid attention to little details. Reading is sort of responsible for this behaviour. I am a highly imaginative guy who pays attention to every line I read and I remodel it in my head according to my understanding. I also have attached some meaning to my reading experiences and they affect how much I enjoy the book. For example, I had read the following books in eBook format:
- The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
- The Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon
- Tom Clancy’s Aftermath
Later, I bought the hard copies and my second experience was divine. I could experience everything, from the flip of the page, sinking that setting with a gulp of tea to the physical being of the book itself.
Many a time, I have been told that I am being stupid and sometimes it makes sense. eBooks are more environmentally friendly, they are cheaper to buy and maintain. My home library can take up to 100 books and I read five books a week. That means it would take me twenty weeks to finish reading all my books. My e-library, on the other hand, contains some 10 Gb of books (I don’t know the actual number of the books in there). Every day I add new eBooks and maintaining them doesn’t cost me a thing.
In all these ways, eBooks are better and more efficient which is how all technological solutions are. But the reading experience is not majorly on speed, neatness and efficient. It is about the authenticity of the reading itself and the reading niche. I know this is a stupid comparison but take a look at Monalisa. She is one of the priceless artefacts in our museums today. If you scanned Monalisa with a super expensive scanner and printed her twin, she’d still be worthless. Now am not saying eBooks are worthless, or that digital art is worthless. We have some very promising digital artists.
The thing is that books themselves are an essential part of the reading process. Yes, eBooks are becoming more and more popular than hard copies and with valid reason. But what of us the detail fanatics? Does the future hold the death of our most beloved? Will my great great grandson enjoy his evenings reading my books over some ginger tea? Books have stood the test of time for centuries, can they keep up the fight?
Also published on Medium.