As I understand, there are two types of people; ones who nurse a strong contempt for ebooks and ones who have now slowly grown to like it. The ones who prefer ebooks over physical copies are the people I will never relate to or even fathom understanding. Being a person of the 21st century, the idea of not choosing the technology equivalent of some activity seems alien but at the same time ebooks cannot replace the feel of the pages, the curve of a well worn-out spine or the cliché smell of old books even after companies breaking their backs by doing everything, they can to make devices reader-friendly.
I got an ebook reader a few years back in the name of environment passion but after handpicking my first book to download and read, my head started aching which I diagnosed to be the consequence of choosing an electronic over physical books. Fortunately, it was just the bright and unnatural glare of the device that caused the headache and not my personal agony, but till today, when travel becomes absolutely necessary and lugging books around, is out of the question, do I use my reader.
Apart from the aesthetics of a book and the minutes necessary to find in any physical copy of a book (the head and tail bands, the blank page following the title or the slight embossing of the cover), there exist many who just cannot make peace with the electronic copies and go as far to say that ebooks aren’t books. This is because a reader’s openness towards ebook devices depends on what they identify as essential to make a book. Many who read for the text and the story only, do not feel as troubled by the rise of ebooks but for the ones who require the entire experience, e-readers fall short.
Kindle, iPad and the countless other devices that provide for reading facilities all have their own technicalities that change the look of the “pages” of the electronic copy because of the scaling of the pdf into the size of the screen and on the size of the font. On top of these troubles, a person who resonates with a memory of a book, with the comfort of its width and height, the change to the slick e-reader is a rocky journey. Take, for example, a reread of a favorite series like Harry Potter where you know the quotes, the pages and the feel of the book in your hand but this comfort gets completely lost because all the books weigh and look the same on the e-reader thus eradicating the immersive experience of such a fantasy novel.
Not even a stubborn advocate against ebooks can say that there is absolutely nothing good about ebooks because there has to be a very logical reason for 58% of romance novels and 60% of mysteries to be sold in ebook formats. Primarily it is the ease and convenience of owning an e-reader but it is also the advancements made by e-readers like Amazon Kindle that have achieved many reader-friendly features to make a small space of solace for ardent readers like us.
Feature Image via The Guardian