Books are one of the foundations of our culture. Fiction or non-fiction, funny or dark, long or short; there is literally something for everyone. Book lovers everywhere will all agree there is nothing better than going into a bookshop and browsing the shelves, with every topic at your fingertips. Opening the cover of a new book, and closing the back cover at the very end are some of the most satisfying feelings known to man. However, in recent years, with technological advances, there has been a shift away from the traditional hardback and paperback world of yonder to the newest craze: E-books.
“Opening the cover of a new book, and closing the back cover at the very end are some of the most satisfying feelings known to man.”
E-books are electronic files of books which can be read on electronic devices, such as a Kindle or Kobos, and have been making waves in the publishing work for the last 30 years, with real recognition coming in the late 2000s. The premise is that you can carry thousands of books in your back pocket, in an ultra-thin form, but to be frank, I just don’t get the appeal. The feel of an e-book just cannot compare to holding a physical book in all of its glory. The feeling of the paper and the turning of a page, is not in any way mirrored by touching a button or a screen. With no physical pages, you can’t have that satisfaction of physically seeing just how many pages you have read and how many you have to go; a number in the corner of the screen just isn’t the same. After you’ve finished the book, you have the joy of putting it on the bookshelf where it is almost like a trophy, reminding you of what you’ve read and, if it is a particularly heavy going book, what you have achieved. With an e-book all that happens is the file is put away, out of sight and out of mind, never to be seen again. It’s almost sad.
“The stories contained in a computer file are too easily forgotten”
As journalist Joe Queenan put it, e-books are useless “for people who are engaged in an intense, lifelong love affair with books”. There is just not the same feel, look or smell with a screen that you get from the paper and ink of a real book. The stories contained in a computer file are too easily forgotten and can’t be admired or fondly remembered as a book sat on a shelf can be. To be frank, physical books are a part of our history and culture, whilst e-books may very well be nothing more than a fad.