This is a first guest post on my blog. There are a lot of amazing people on Twitter and this particular post is written by the talented Marmotte. She’s from France and she’s a dear friend. You can follow her on Twitter at @ashydaydreamer. If you liked this post please do flood her timeline with tweets 🙂 Cheers!
Nowadays one of the main focus of the improvements in technology is to make any new device smaller in order for it to be carried anywhere at any time by anyone—well, mostly by those who can afford it or those who wouldn’t mind selling one or two organs to get enough money (yeah, I know, technologies can sometimes make people crazy). An electronic book—or eBook—provides for instance thousands of stories that we can read wherever we are whenever we want. That’s impressive. That’s fascinating. That’s astonishing. However, we are sometimes better off sticking with more traditional products such as paper books.
Some people choose eBooks because they are much thinner and lighter than most paper books. Well, I think a paper book should be proud of its heaviness. Feeling the weight of a book at the bottom of a bag while leaving a library or a bookstore, the weight of a wonderful story yet to be read, the weight of words that will leave a mark on us forever… there is nothing else like that. Paper books are big and beautiful. If we aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, why should we judge it by its weight? Why should we choose the skinny little eBook? We shouldn’t.
Those things called electronic books also use a lot of electricity compared to paper books that… don’t. Those eBooks have to be charged every time the battery is low which we already do with our computers, cellphones, tablets, and other stuff that has become indispensable to most of us in this century of perpetual technological advances. And it truly gets exhausting, doesn’t it? Anyway, what is great about paper books is that we don’t have to charge them. We don’t! That way we don’t have to worry about the battery when we spend twelve hours on a plane. Pretty cool, right?
Then comes the cost. Yes, it had to come up at some point. Electronic books are quite expensive but they are also a good investment for those who will use it a lot (a.k.a. those who will never touch a paper book again) because stories are cheaper once we have one of those eBooks. But, who said that we have to buy a paper book when we can have it for free? No, I’m not saying that we should steal them in bookstores; I’m saying that libraries still exist. Yes, they do. Hundreds and hundreds of shelves containing thousands and thousands of books. It’s amazingly beautiful.
Of course, we can carry so many books with us in a single little eBook. Isn’t it crazy that we can hold in our hands what can fill an enormous library? People using eBooks must feel so powerful—and if they don’t, they should—because books are the most powerful weapons in the world (a wise man once said). Furthermore, with an eBook, we can browse online books by using only one finger. One finger. But then we lose the pleasure of wandering into libraries and bookstores looking for the books that will soon be ours. And that’s a shame.
Also, a book can be a kind of break from technologies because anyone who owns this kind of eBook probably also owns other technological devices. As I said before, we are constantly using gadgets and it becomes harder and harder every day to try living without them—have you ever tried to count how many people use their phones in the metro? It’s quite funny and it passes the time. Anyhow, I don’t think we will ever be able to part with devices. It would be heartbreaking. Nevertheless we can choose not to use some of them such as our dear eBooks for multiple reasons. For example, their screens aren’t good for the eyes during long reading sessions (except for the expensive models but, once again, only wealthy people and I-am-okay-with-selling-a-lung-for-money people can afford it).
There was a report on TV a few years ago—basically when the eBook was at its zenith—where people were asked whether they preferred paper books or electronic books. I remember one of them mentioning the smell of new books that we couldn’t sense using an eBook. In addition to that I think that there’s nothing like turning pages while going through a book. Feeling the paper between your fingers. It feels so much more real than an electronic book; the story itself seems more real.
I’m aware that paper books kill trees, but eBooks kill bookstores as well. As long as they can coexist, I guess everybody loses and everybody wins.
Still, paper books have existed for centuries.
They’re a huge part of our history.
And it would be wasteful to let technologies take over this beautiful legacy.