I own a kindle (given to me by my brother) but I don’t actually use it. I have tried to use it. I think I’ve downloaded two books onto it in the 18 months I’ve had it in my possession. I keep reverting to the quaint style of reading that involves something made from paper and wood. The excuse I’ve always given is that ‘I have loads of books I haven’t read yet so I can’t use the kindle yet’. But I keep buying more books so there must be more to it than that. My lack of willingness to embrace the kindle bothers me. Lots of people have kindles. Most of my family and friends own kindles. I think all of the kindle owners I know love their kindles. As far as I know they all have turned their backs, permanently, on paper-and-wood books. So why have I not joined the kindle generation? I read a lot. I think technology is great stuff. I should be using a kindle. I’m the ideal consumer of a kindle.
As i see it (when I’m trying to be objective) kindles have many advantages over books:
- They don’t go brown with age
- They don’t go wrinkly if you drop them in the bath
- They are portable
- Their weight remains the same irrespective of whether you are reading War and Peace or not
- They don’t take up shelf space
- They allow you to read rude books on trains without embarrassment
- They looks nice
Somehow these advantages haven’t won me over. So, in the toilet of course, yesterday I asked myself: why do I still prefer wood-and-paper books? I came up with a number of reasons.
- They have covers which are nice to look at
- They feel nice in your hands
- They can be used for interior decoration (I simply love bookshelves bursting with books)
- They are solid
- They have history (I love the smell and feel of second-hand books)
- If I used a kindle I would find no pleasure in looking in second-hand bookshops
- You can read them in the bath
- If you drop a book in the bath, what have you lost? A few pounds at the most
- Everyone on the train can see what you are reading and therefor they will realise how amazing and intellectual you are
- I get more pleasure from buying a book than I would from ‘downloading’ a book
- They smell nice (I like the smell of paper and wood)
- They sound nice
It is this last advantage that I probably need to explain . I like the sound that books make when you open and close them (this mostly applies to new books). What I am referring to is that creeeek noise that the paper makes upon opening a new book. I love that noise. I also like the hollow clunk sound hardbacks make when you hit them. Oooh I do love that sound. Kindles don’t have that quality. I imagine that they’d sound metallic (if you were to thump one). So to me on the sound stakes alone the kindle cannot compete with the wood-and-paper book. Please may books never die.
My preferences for books are very personal and I appreciate that. I’m not a Luddite about the books vs kindle debate. I know that kindles are here to stay. I don’t resist them. I just choose to walk to my bookshelf and pick a nice yellow paperback to open and shut just to listen to the lovely creeky noise. Oohhhh.