Reading with Books

The Mighty Waltxer by Howard Jacobson

I was sat up in bed reading the other night (I know, rock and roll lifestyle), and it suddenly occurred to me.  How many more months will there be left before physical novels are replaced by a e-Reader/tablet in our house?  I don’t think it will be that long and that actually makes me quite sad because once you replace a habit of old with a new shiny electrical device it’s not often you go back to the old ways.

How many books will be bought in paper format once an eReader arrives?

I’m a great advocate for new technology and indeed, I see great benefits in having e-Readers, for both writers and readers alike, but somehow reading a novel electronically just doesn’t sit right with me.  Magazines, sure.  Leaflets, technical non fictional writing, sure.  But novels?

I’m reading ‘The Mighty Walzers’ by Howard Jacobson at the moment.  It’s comedy yarn about a boy living and growing up in Manchester in the 50’s and his love of ping pong.

It’s novel number  60 in the list of comedy novels and is the 75th novel from the 1,000 listed, by the Guardian that I have read so far.  I’m enjoying it.  It’s a nice easy read, its made me chuckle a few times and it’s given me a feel for the Jewish Community in the 1950s.  Nothing overtly remarkable about any of that but for one thing:

I like the feel of the book in my hands. ( I also especially like the smell of a new book.)

I read stuff all the time on my smart phone and that’s fine for quick access to recipes  snippets of news and checking the weather forecast but I can’t read for long on it.  You might even be reading this on a smart phone or a tablet but, if you’re anything like me you get bored and start sliding the article or blog post with your fingers until you find the end regardless of taking anything in.

And that’s my point.

As if my attention span wasn’t bad enough, on an electronic device it’s practically pushed over the edge.  Pretty images make it all worth while when reading on-line I find but if there aren’t any, man do I get bored quick.

With a physical book in your hand it brings reality back.  You have to sit down, take a few minutes, concentrate.  Feel the words swim over you and take them all in to create the image the author or writer wants you to see.

Reading, as in novels, is becoming it’s own hobby again just like the good old days, but only if it can be done right.  No devices, no sliding screens, no back lights.  Just you and the book.

I like to think all books of the paper variety are far too important to just put aside and stop production of.  It forms the very fabric of our communication, history and culture, and by putting it all onto an electronic format would be extremely foolish.

I hope I’m not alone thinking that?


5 responses to “Reading with Books

  1. Definitely you’re not alone! I love physical books way more than ereaders, but i’m afraid that, like vinyls nowadays, they are gonna get replaced. I’ve got to admit, though, ereaders are much more practical if you want to read in public transportation or if you want to take a few books with you for the holidays. But the feeling of having a good book in your hands is incomparable. 🙂

    • I’m pleased I’m not alone. I’m hoping that books will take longer to be replaced than vinyl’s just because of their (I think) greated significane on our culture. Although, to be fair Vinyl also made a come back! Thanks for reading my post.

  2. I’ve pondered the same question over the past few years and finally bought a Kobo last year. Personally it hasn’t replaced paper books and I think it will be, perhaps, decades, before it replaces paper books – unlike CDs which I sold very quickly after mp3 files became prevalent.
    I rarely buy books as I get most of them from the local library. But I do enjoy reading books on the Kobo and the local library is slowly putting up ebooks. I find the reading experience, now that I’m used to the kobo, very similar. Along with being able to download the first chapter of thousands of books before I decide to buy or loan, there are so many free books, which is handy for someone that enjoys reading classics, but doesn’t want to fill their house with them (anymore)!
    I think there are many pros and cons for both technologies, books and ebook readers. Meaning that it’s a personal choice for us all – but it’s great that we finally have the choice!
    Great post Sophie 🙂

    • I am pleased to hear that. I’m worried for our libraries as well in all this change. Will a library be reduced to a filling cabinet where you just go and pick up an eReader? It’s always a nice experience going to the library, being surrounded by shelves and shelves of books. Maybe that in itself will become a museum?!
      Thanks for reading the post, appreciate it.

      • I imagine that as the ereader technology gets better that libraries will change.
        There are already over 2500 ebooks available from Wiltshire Library (my local) and the list is getting added to all the time. As we’re an ‘always on’ society it is sometimes handier for people to get the ebook as the website is always available, whereas the library is closed longer than it’s open each day.
        I imagine that, sadly, more libraries will close in the coming years/decades. Perhaps more library budget will be allocated to digital editions rather than physical editions.
        The ebook era can make reading ‘cool’ and it helps authors get published, even if only by self publishing via Amazon or similar. Ebooks also save space in my house – we recently went from 3 bookcases to just one!
        It’s a massive topic and at least for the meanwhile we have a choice whether to read an ebook or opt for a physical book. 🙂

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