Yeah. I really just said that. And I'm sure you're thinking, "what is she, 10?" And while a lot of people think I am, indeed, 17 (I'm not), I am ready to defend this post's title. And by the end of this post, I'm pretty sure you're going to be with me.
Here's the thing: I have nothing against Kindles (or any e-reader) as tools. I think they have introduced a lot of people to reading whom might have otherwise ignored reading and books. I also personally know people who love their e-readers. Typically, these are people who travel a lot or who are constantly on the move in their everyday life and need something slim to bring along. Sometimes, however, it's just their preferred way to read. My boss likes her Kindle for the countless reading options it offers her in only one slim device. She never has to choose just one book.
I get all that. I hear ya. E-readers are not soulless devices come to kill print. I even used the Kindle app on my iPad mini when I went to Italy. I wanted to have several books on hand without toting along a library. So I EVEN KIND OF USED ONE ONCE.
But.... I was not converted. Here's why Kindles drool:
- There's no real way to annotate a book on an e-reader. At least, not the way I like to, with arrows and sprawling cursive squeezed into the margins (my blog isn't called "Scribbling in the Margins" for nothing!). Yeah, I can highlight, but can I add extra exclamation points when something shocking happens? I think not.
- I couldn't see how far I was in the book. Okay okay, yes, there was a bar at the bottom of my "book" saying how much time I had left or showing me progress in the form of a percentage. But that doesn't tell me anything. I like to see my progress in thickness. How many pages are before my bookmark, and how many are after? I started to feel a little lost inside my Kindle books, and not in a good way.
- Finally, I really disliked the screen deciding I was reading too slow and blacking out on me before I got to the end of a page (disclaimer: I wasn't using a real Kindle, so it could just be the iPad that does this. I'm aware. It was still annoying.) LOOK KINDLE. Some of us need to go back and re-read really excellent paragraphs, okay? GIVE ME TIME.
A real life, up-close and personal example: I found F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise for free on Amazon's e-books site. I had just purchased the paperback, so I figured I'd start it on the iPad and finish it real book style. But on the Kindle, the story just dragged on...and on....and on.....
I kept getting lost on the plot, and I couldn't easily flip back to a part that would help clear my confusion. I felt forced to read on without ever getting a real handle on the story. Now, here we are six months later, and I have absolutely no clue what that book's about. I have to start over, and that greatly frustrates me.
As soon as I got home from Italy, I returned to the comfort of my physical, beautiful books and never looked back. So here's why books rule:
- The smell. This is something my sister and I both love about books, their pure, wonderful, ink-on-paper smell. Woody, musty, and fresh, all in one whiff. Seriously, grab one of your books and give it a deep smell. I'll do it with you *grabs a book, smells it*. Ahhhhhh. I feel better already.
- The sense of satisfaction. From the moment I get a book (library, book store, Amazon- doesn't matter), the excitement begins. Then, I get to start the book, which is one of the more exciting times in my reading process. As I read on, I watch my progress both in the number of pages read and how invested I am in the story. Finally, closing a book for the last time always just makes me feel good. I have an attachment to the book when I close that back cover. I have a feeling of accomplishment simply using my finger to flip to the last page doesn't give.
- And for the grand finale:
BOOKS ARE BEAUTIFUL
I'm on the hunt for beautiful covers of The Great Gatsby, and you probably have your own favorite book you "collect." But just looking at books, holding books, displaying books, feeling books- it's all an experience. I don't read books just for the words on the page. I read books for their paper, for their chapter layouts, and fonts. I read books for covers I can't stop looking at, and for the crinkly-whoosh sound of turning a page. I read books to take a break from a screen, and immerse myself into a world in which I don't have to worry.
And that, folks, is why books, simply put, rule.
What do you love about books? Are you an e-reader user? I'd love to hear what you think about the whole e-reader vs. book discussion.
And for today's Below the Line...
- Oh my goodness, you still haven't checked out my Twitter? You're missing out. Find Scribbling in the Margins at @scribblemargins.
- I really need to get better about setting aside time to read. I will not fail on my To-Read Books this Summer! 1 down, 4 to go...
- Thanks so much to Sophie the Bookworm for listing me as one of her favorite bloggers! It was so sweet of her to include me. Congrats on 50 followers, Sophie!