I can touch my favourite books with eyes closed, and recognize them. I know the texture of their covers. The size and feel of them. I look at hundreds of books scattered around my house, and I have no need for ornamental decorations.
But, when I decided to volunteer in Ecuador for three months, I packed all of my books, put them in storage, and travelled instead with a kindle and a few hundred books.
E-books certainly have got the convenience factor on their side, but I don’t believe that E-books mean the death of paper books, and I certainly don’t believe that they totally replace paper books. They each have their own place, and each option will be suitable to people with different needs:
Aesthetics Vs. Minimalism
Building a library is a pleasure. When I dream about my future house, I rarely dream about the house itself, usually it’s just the perfect room for all of my books, and a room for more. It doesn’t matter that I love travelling. I still want somewhere permanent for my books, somewhere where I can sit, and enjoy them. It’s the pleasure of senses – of seeing the physical books, of touching the paper, of smelling that distinct smell.
Minimalism may give you uncluttered space, but it does not inspire the feelings that physical books can.
Note taking & Flipping the pages Vs. Searching for Highlights
I take notes. Sometimes, it’s just because I want to. Something I read makes an impression and I scribble in the book. At other times, I need to take notes for essays I’m writing or projects I am working on. Either way, note taking is a big part of my reading experience.
On Kindle, you can highlight passages, and you can type notes too. That’s great. But when it comes to actually using those notes, it’s not that useful.
Generally, I just prefer to flip the pages, back and forth, looking at my notes, re-reading some passages. There is no specific plan. I just review the book, and things fall into place.
You can’t flip pages on Kindle. You can review your notes and highlights, or you can go page by page, but there is just no flipping the pages, and so the actual experience of “reviewing” is non-existent, which I believe would be a big issue for most academics, writers, and just about everyone who wants to retain specific information from their reading, and be able to go back to it.
Pleasure of an ageing volume Vs. Re-reading without damage
I’m a bit over-protective when it comes to my book. I am a careful reader, so by the time I finish reading a book for the first time, it looks almost brand new. I always use bookmarks too. But my favourite books show signs of age. I re-read them, and so the spine starts breaking, the pages sometimes get marks, and there are just general signs of wear and tear. But I love it. Because that’s what differentiates my favourite books from all the other books. That’s what also makes them uniquely mine. It’s not just a copy of “Persuasion.” It’s my copy of “Persuasion.” It makes them personal.
There is no personal on Kindle. Yes, all of your books will still be as black and white as you bought them, but they are just files. Stories are same, and I enjoy those stories, but it’s like looking only at the soul without the body. We are regular people. We need the bodies too. That’s what makes us seem different, attractive to some and not-so-appealing to others. Physical books are books with bodies, and some of us find them very attractive.
How about you? Does the Kindle change your reading experience or not? Share your views in the comments section.