It may be progress, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it. The Daily Shift‘s April Barry takes a look at the dreaded e-book…
Oh, Kindle, how do I hate you? Let me count* the ways…
Kindles. iBooks. Electro-readers (I know they’re called e-readers, but humour me here, the term electro-readers goes with the general awry-with-technology grumpy grumblings of this post). They all have one thing, and one thing only in common as far as I’m concerned: ugh.
Can you guess that I don’t have/want/need/aspire to having one?
I know they’re (sort of) eco-friendly [insomuch as something which is, in all possibility, manufactured by an impoverished sweatshop worker, thousands of miles away, then shipped here, clocking up mile after mile of carbon footprint, and, just generally being immoral and all, can be]. But, hey, if it saves a tree… I know less forests are felled due to electro-readers. I’m aware that it opens up a world of literature, at gobsmack-me rock bottom, bargain-licious prices.
I realise that it’s an awesome way for an unestablished writer to gain some foothold in the literary jungle that is the wild world of publishing. And, I’m not so un-hip that I don’t understand that they’re new (well, newer than books, older than… mystery, yet-to-be-introduced iPhone 1000s…), and that all the cool kids, along with sporting strange bit-buzz cuts jauntily juxtaposed against their otherwise long and lustrous locks; like everything to be technology-ey, and plug-in-able, and touch screen enabled, and 3G wifi (and all the rest) accessible. I get it. I had a wireless when I was your age too (okay, walkman, followed swiftly by a CD player). And by all means – you have my permission – make your music as minute as possible, and as carry-about-able as earthly attainable. There’s no need to carry a load when it’s a lyrical one. But books, my dears, are a whole ‘nother (library) matter…
You see, I’m of the firm persuasion that you should be able to see books – i.e. that they are actual, visible 3D objects, in and of themselves. Not just some silly file on some mad piece of machine gadgetry. You should be able to thumb through them, to make notes on them, to spy strange and sometimes ambiguous coffee, tea, and general caffeine cup stains within their pages. You should be able to feel their cool weight in your hand (have you ever met a warm book?!). You should be able to smell them, that lovely, cannot-be-replicated book-ish smell that you get from books and only books. (I mean, you don’t see electro-readers sniffing all up in their electro-books now, do you?)
You should be able to fold them, and make creases, and mark important pages, and passages. You should be able to slip a bookmark in between the pretty pages. You should be able to take note of how battered (or not) the book’s spine is, and fold pages over accordingly, in relation to how much TLC your oh-so-brilliant book requires. You should be able to ponder through page after page, finding where you read last, seeing all manner of lovely printed words along the way.
In short, there ain’t no bibliophile ever who curled up with an electronic book reader like they would a book.
Okay, well maybe there is (I like to think that these ‘renegades’ are 50 Shades of Grey readers) but they’re so cold, and so electronically sterile, that’s there’s no way a true bibliophile would.
Probably the only time I could actually condone use of an electro-reader is if you’re actually reading 50 Shades of Grey. But, seriously, it’s almost a mark of kudos-come-honour (in some circles) at this stage — you’re one of the cool ‘in’ kids, so why not own it, and flaunt your pseudo-bondage (mightn’t be an exact description, but I’m hell as not actually reading what originated as Twilight fan fiction, allegedly) porn-lite with style. In the form of paper and ink.
And for fuck sake, don’t come near me with either the electro-reader or the tomes, in book form or otherwise.
*Not really count. You may have noticed, this piece does not contain any numbers. But, they are listed. And I trust that The Daily Shift readers are super-smart, so can count all the many ways featured if they so wish.
I’m over on Twitter, hating all things newfangled-ey. However, I have managed to make that there ‘Twitter’ word back there clickable. So click, and join me in the hatred of all things non-book-y, over yonder on ye olde Twitters.
*Lead image via Wikimedia Commons