Curling up with a good ebook


General Culture

“It has long been predicted that traditional books are about to be replaced by little machines on which you can download any novel you fancy. But the technology has never really been up to the job - until now. Here Andrew Marr, who treasures his smelly, beautiful library of real books, spends a month with one of the new gadgets.” (story)

I can’t help but suspect that “ebooks” were invented by people who don’t really read books (and, no, manuals for software don’t count). Let’s face it, convenience is not the biggest issue for people who read books. How many people have you run into who’d say “I love reading books, but I wish they wouldn’t take up so much space?” (which they don’t - even though Mrs Conscientious might disagree) Or how many people would be willingly trade the smell of a nice new book for what I assume must be the unappealing smell of plastic and electronics? And can you imagine to trade the experience of finding a very exciting (and somewhat old smelling) book that you have been looking for for such a long time with the experience of “finding” something by browsing some website? And how do you flip through an ebook? Is fiddling with some plastic screen really comparable with the tactile experience of flipping through actual pages?

Of course, some people will say “Hey, that Herr Conscientious is quite old-fashioned”, but how many of those people read books? See, replacing books with ebooks is like replacing dinner, lovingly prepared and served by either your spouse or yourself or by your favourite chef at that little restaurant that you love so much, with astronaut food (you know, a mix of pills and oddly coloured stuff from tubes, and you don’t even get a plastic tray). It’s really not the same experience - just ask the astronauts.