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?