According to Stylist magazine and Amazon.com, Kindle downloads have overtaken paperback sales. For us traditionally minded readers, the paperback book is all part of the reading experience. We are entranced by everything, from the smell of the book, to the sound the page makes as we turn it. We like being able to see how far we’ve come. At the end of it we like handing our favourite book over to a loved one, so they can walk the same path through language that we’ve just finished. Yes, I was the one taking the sneaky sniff of a new book in Waterstones. I have an addiction, it’s a problem I don’t wish to fix. I am a book addict and proud of that fact.
Still I wonder whether we are standing in the way of progress. So what if a few of us book worms enjoy a good sniff of Wuthering Heights, what about those who can’t read? (The people who might benefit from reading digitally.)The people who hate books…yes I know, some people do. It scares me too. What about those living in remote areas?
The people who fear technology the most, are people like me who are comfortable in their old way of life. We delight in the sound of typewriters and curse when we realise we’ll have to type the whole thing up again. We watch Marilyn Monroe and Cary Grant and shout after young rascals with no manners. I am elderly in the making and hate anyone invading upon my comforts, books included.
How dare these people say they can improve upon a book. It is a simple invention that changes people’s lives starting with their thought patterns.
You get the book bloggers who write essay long posts about how they are faithful to literature and in particular the paperback. Their next post is a rather sheepish advert of just how well the Kindle fits into their purse. That might be me. What if I held the Kindle in my hands and it fit perfectly, like we were meant to be together? What if it winks its titles at me and convinces me just how convenient it is. The temptation…scares me.
For some of us though the latest trends go over our head. A hundred pounds could buy a shelf full of books and besides the library will give us free books. Why would we spend that amount just because it’s fashionable? I remember learning about Amazon and just how cheap the books were. Twenty pounds for a textbook we need on our course? Unacceptable when Kitty12 is selling hers for three pounds in Scotland. It isn’t just cost or the reliance on a power source to keep this digital book going.
Book worms are a strange bunch. We sit in the dark, reading by candle light. We share our ideas in hushed tones and our rock star is Jane Austen who introduced the world to feminism. Our superhero is Charles Dickens and because of this, we force ourselves to watch Oliver Twist on BBC1 every Christmas. “That could be us,” we say solemnly. “We watch because that could have been us.” Happy in our quiet bean bag corner and then along comes the science geeks. Shining like the sun they encroach upon our safe space and try to uprgrade it.
“Go away,” we shout. “We’re happy.”
“But this Kindle looks like a book, is lighter than a book and won’t strain your eyes like a book,” they tell us.
“But why not just buy a book…” we say.
The human race are always trying to progress and become better while forgetting some of the best lessons of the past. So what is my point?
Firstly, if you meet me in a library…buzz off that’s my happy place.
Secondly, if I get a Kindle, don’t judge me. I’ve done twenty two years of reading paperbacks, ok, I’ve done my sentence.
Thirdly, trend or not the Kindle would have changed the way I studied. Have you carried eight textbooks across campus? Have you felt the fear slowly overtake you as you realise someone has just reserved the one book you need two days before the deadline?
Long live the book.