Printed book or eBook? For me there is no comparison, no choice to be made. I’ve never bought an eBook ( despite being able to get Ebooks from 99p at WHSmith using this deal) and solemnly vowed on an old bound edition of The Hobbit never to. Call me old fashioned but there’s something about actually holding a book in my hands, flicking through the pages, smelling the book that cannot be replaced by the likes of a Kindle. I don’t consider myself a ‘writer’, I host no ideas of grandeur about my blog being a vast creative platform to showcase my literary talents, there are some truly gifted writers out there blogging and I bow before them gimpishly. But even so when I sit down on the sofa and look across at the hundreds of books sat on the shelves of the bookcase I cannot help be inspired. Besides Kindles are the fricking DEVIL.
I may not feel the need to carry 60 books at once in the palm of my hand but I do feel the need to write a short list of the things that one can do with a printed book that one can’t with an eBook:
Prop up a wonky bookcase.
We’ve all done it, moved house, positioned a bookcase or chest of drawers just where we want it only to find the wonky floorboards mean the whole ruddy thing wobbles. Such times call for thin Ladybird books.
Squash a wasp.
I know, I know, where’s my humanity? The bastards sting. I can’t help it, if a wasp it too stupid to fly out of a window then it’s going down. End of.
Printed books make great camera stands.
If you want to take a video of something but sitting the camera on the table isn’t high enough, if you want to take a photo but your hands are too shakey… a small tower of books works wonders. And it’s cheap. How many Kindles do you think you’d need to pile up in order to get the height of 10 books? Ey? EY?
Showing off on public transport.
Poser? Want to make the opposite sex think that you are cultured? Sit on the train reading a book – not Harry Potter you understand, in my experience nothing looks cooler than someone sitting nonchalantly sipping a coffee reading one of the classics / something cool / something in another language. The book you carry on public transport is not just a read, it’s a statement, rightly or wrongly it says something about you.
Wake up and smell the book.
Old and new they all have a certain smell.
Sit on a train, open a book and smell it and you’ll get a mixture of looks that range between ‘Ah yes that smell, I recall that smell’ and ‘how queer’.
Sit on a train and sniff a kindle and you’ll be greeted by people moving seats to get further away from the freak (that’s you, Kindle sniffer).
To summarise, sitting in public sniffing a Kindle is one step away from sitting in public sniffing your own fingers. And that’s plain WRONG.
This one’s for all you lovers out there. Old romantic fools. Lovers of reading. Many an hour BC (before children), did Papapsaurus and I sit reading a book together. In years to come you’ll remember that book you read together and every time you see a copy it will make your heart flutter. Would you heart skip a beat if you saw a Kindle? Meh. Exactly.
Giving books as gifts.
You want to give a friend a book for their birthday. You know they have a Kindle. Do you opt for an eBook? No! (ok so many of you will be shaking your head in disagreement on this one). A printed book you can wrap up and hand over, it’s weighty, it’s solid, it’s real.
Surely the best bit of giving someone a book as a gift, apart from all that ‘it’s the feelgood gift of giving nonsense’, is the writing of a message inside the cover. Write a personal message to your friend inside the cover of a book and you have made that book a truly special gift and become a thoughtful friend. Etch your message on the back of their kindle and you won’t be popular you’ll be on the receiving end of some feral rantings.
And notes written inside books live on, post the lifespan of the book’s owner. Strangers in years to come may read the message you penned in a book, it may make them smile, cry or just wonder what on earth you were on when you thought writing a limerick was a good idea.
Here’s a really short note written inside a printed book, Through the Looking Glass, that my dad wrote to me when he gave me the book for my 6th birthday. He passes away a number of years ago now so I don’t need to tell you why this short note means so much to me.
It’ll be an icy day in Hades before I download any book but I fear I may be in the minority in my opinions. And so instead of trying to lead a revolution inciting people to drown their Kindles in the bath I’m going to opt for the terribly polite and British mannerism and apologise for my loathing of eBooks and ask you how important do you think it is to keep the printed book in your life?
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