I hate to admit it, but I have an eBook reader. I didn’t want one, but my dad bought it for me one Christmas (or was it for a birthday?) because he knew how obsessed I am with novels. I guess I was even a little happy to get the darn thing, but truth be told that joy ended soon after. I’m not sure about you guys, but I’ve always been one who’ve stuck with the traditional paper format. I’m even a little sad that they’re not as popular now.
For me there’s just something about the physical book itself that a piece of metal and plastic can’t replicate. Maybe it’s the joy of seeing my progress through the novel by way of the pages, or maybe it’s holding the book itself while I drink a cup of hot chocolate that gets me. Either way I find that there’s a certain timelessness about the traditional format of written literature that no amount of technology can replace.
Now that’s not saying that eBooks don’t have their strengths as well – I wouldn’t be using mine at all if that were the case. For one, they’re a whole lot portable than normal books for events in which you’ll be gone for an extended period of time, after all, it’s easier to carry one eBook reader than 50 different novels. And it’s also true that many books are cheaper on the eBook format, and heck, there’s even more variety on what can be purchased!
The eBook gets rid of the need to actually go to the local bookstore or library to see if they have what I’m looking for, and even if they do have the novel I can usually get that same book for a lot less… so why do I still prefer the traditional format? Maybe it’s due to nostalgia, and it might even be illogical but I miss actually going to the bookstore. For me, my monthly visits to the Chapters (that’s the Canadian version of Barn’s and Nobles) was special.
When I was a kid I remember saving up my allowance and checking out the Fantasy section, I would browse the selection for hours, finding those true gems (although sometimes the books I did pick out were pretty bad). Because back then, I could only afford maybe 2 or 3 books at a time, and part of the thrill of reading was discovering what to read. Now with eBooks that initial spark of wonder that comes with book shopping is gone, you can simply browse the virtual bookstores to buy your virtual book.
And I think the one fact that truly gets to me about eBooks is that you can’t see the entire novel at once. What I mean is that you have to flip the book one page at a time, starting at page 1 to the end. Of course there are chapter options but it’s tedious to access that, and for me, I like to see just how far into a chapter I am. This is especially true for multiple point of view styled books. Maybe I want to see how many more pages are left for that character, or maybe I want to “cheat” and skip a particularly dull section of the book (I swear I don’t do that a lot!), but with eBooks, none of these options are available.
I’m not sure about you guys, but I hope that the whole eBook thing is just a supplement to the already popular paper book format. I’d be a truly sad person if paper books are to become like Blockbusters.