Wow, it seems like I’ve really opened up a can of worms here! I went over to visit Trish this morning and found some rather strong opinions about my last post regarding the Kindle. Here is my response to all of my detractors:
First of all, there cannot possibly be a bigger book lover than I am. I love the feel, the smell, the idea of books, and I believe that all forms of written language and thought represent the highest level of grace that humankind can ever reach. I think I was born believing this.
So, I thought I would be the last bastion to hold on to the idea of paper books, but then I got the Kindle. I knew from the moment I turned it on and began reading that it was something special. It’s not pretty and it’s all plastic, but believe me when I say that this thing is WAY COOL, and this is just the beginning.
It’s a primitive form of what an electronic book device will be in the future, and if Steve Jobs has thrown his hat into the ring, I forsee that the electronic book IS the future, whether we like it or not.
Many of the reponses, both here and on Trish’s site were totally emotional, and while I understand this, they are purely based on comfort, not practicality. We all have memories of books from when we were teeny-tiny, and it’s hard to let go of the “security-blanket” that books have always provided for us. Pretty soon, though, we all have to put away our binkies and our baby bottles and grow up and learn to accept (if not embrace) change.
Yes, I do enjoy bookstores and books I can tote around and flip through and all that good stuff, but e-books are superior for the following reasons:
1. Accessibility — You can get practically anything on your e-book reader. If you grow tired of reading War and Peace, you can get on the internet and start reading “The New York Times” or the “Daily Kos” or your own blog. You can download free books, and you can shop at a virtual bookstore.
2. Convenience — It’s kind of like carrying a library without the heavy mess to lug around.
3. Conservation — These little handhelds are better than paper simply because we don’t have to kill trees to make them, and electronics recycling is now part of the mainstream, so I don’t buy the whole pollution aspect. We pollute more by cutting down and processing trees to make paper to use for books.
I’m surprised that so many readers have already made up their minds never to touch one because, oh heaven help us, we aren’t holding an honest-to-god book. A book is not a format — it’s not a bunch of pages and a cover. A book is what it conveys, it’s what’s on the inside, it’s what the author is trying to tell you. It’s the imagination and the ideas and the prose and the soaring feeling it gives you when you’ve read something exquisite. It’s what makes you cry with heartbreak or giggle with amusement.
A book is not just the package. A book is what is inside the package.