I consider myself to be on friendly terms with technology.
I have long replaced all of my CDs with a sleek purple iPod, I feel sophisticated when I type away on my MacBook Pro at the local coffee shop, and I am still not sure how I functioned in life before I owned my iPhone. Yet the one thing I refuse to “update” to is an eBook reader.
Spare me your Kindles, tuck away your Nook, I have heard every argument in the (electronic) book. Nothing compares with the original.
Perhaps it’s because I work in print — an industry many consider to be a dying field, but to me, there are sensory pleasures from reading a book that no electronic device can replicate.
Nevertheless, when I express my anti-eBook sentiments to friends, their responses are a mix of shock, disbelief and sometimes, downright anger.
“B-but it’s so much easier!,” they exclaim. “You could have any book at your fingertips in a matter of seconds!”
While this is true, I believe that the hunt for a book can be half the fun. I love going to used book stores like Crazy4Bookz on Main Street in Hamburg and Rust Belt Books in Allentown, Buffalo, inhaling the scent of the musty tomes as I peruse the shelves.
I refuse to believe that swiping your pointer finger across a screen to “turn” the page can compare to the soft rustle of paper. I can’t imagine that any annotation one can make on an eReader is better than dog-earing a page or underlining a favorite passage to revisit again and again.
Books should have worn spines, with thinned and faded pages that have been well-read and well-loved. They should have real weight and a real shape, not just words floating somewhere in cyberspace.
They should be carefully selected and handed down as a gift, with a special message written inside the cover. Books should not require batteries.
When I moved into my apartment last February, three-quarters of what I brought with me were books. As my friends who helped me move cursed me under their breath, their cheeks flush with the cold and the effort of dragging my enormous tubs of texts, I momentarily agreed that it would be easier if I downloaded what I read.
Yet after I unpacked and organized my books on my shelves, I realized I could never let them go.
Not only do I carry their stories within me, but the books contain parts of me in them. They contain my handwriting, as I tend to write notes in the margins. Some of them hold traces of sand from my vacations or the occasional day trip to a beach on Lake Erie. My favorite few novels hold tear stains on the final pages, as I cried both for the beauty of the words and the fact that they were soon coming to an end.
Yes, when it comes to reading, I prefer the old-fashioned approach. Paper will always beat screen.
....Oh by the way, make sure to read my column online at www.thesunnews.net.