In the days of late I have been experiencing several struggles in the literary department: first, the deep longing for interesting books to read while knowing I lack the time to read all of them; second, finding the resolve to throw my money at Amazon’s Kindle books only to find that the iPhone app does not allow for digital purchases; third, being displeased by the backlit, tiny display of the Kindle iPhone app; and four, interrogating proper Kindle-owning friends only to learn that some models don’t have that backlit-less paper feel, and that some do display advertisements.
I myself am known to have a rather over-romanticised, perhaps overly keen view of academics and literature. I ask “why” to the point of frustrating my question-victims, and at times my online research and “reading” proves less useful than experiencing life firsthand. I have paid overweight fees for my baggage simply due to carting around too many books.
And yet, I can’t stop buying them. And as for the books I’ve purchased digitally and love, I certainly have plans to purchase physical copies in the future.
It’s not feasible to have that many books and travel/move so much.
The Kindle (and other e-readers) are so convenient.
Purchasing that many books will get expensive quickly — not only at initial purchase, but in maintenance, storage, and transport.
I don’t know if it’s an addiction or not, but books — proper books — really are like old friends. My tagline, “we write to taste life twice, in the moment and retrospect,” is furthered when considering books. Having physical documentation allows you to experience life again, not just to taste it. The feel of premium paper and the texture of a book’s spine add another sense to the remarkable experience that is reading, and that is what I cannot give up.
Books are not simply printed text. There is a deep satisfaction in turning a page; a sense of completion that cannot be paralleled by a swipe of a finger or tap of a button. Books have a smell, a feel, a particular look, and sound — the combination of these four senses offers the utmost gratification in gathering knowledge.
A mystifying emotional bond is created upon finishing a great book. I know some who mourn the end of the tale, but unlike other emotional bonds (eg, relationships), you may end a book with the satisfaction of being able to pick it up once more and experience it all over again.
Books are also not people — once published, they are constant. Why else have literary classics lasted through centuries of differing cultures and ideologies? How have they retained their status as heralded favorites? It is their consistency and familiarity that remains.
Perhaps it is their timelessness that draws me to hard copies and not abstract bits of data. I will always prefer paper pages to digital swipes.