I do. Guilty as charged. I love going into a bookstore, coffee (carefully) in hand, ready to peruse the shelves slowly, looking over titles and pictures. And covers. I love wandering around, picking up different books, opening them, looking at their inserts, reading the first paragraph or two. I love the (sometimes) glossy covers. The glorious fonts. The graphics. Paper books trump electronic ‘books’ any day. I am obsessed with reading. Always have been. My mom used to find me reading under my blankets well into the wee hours of the morning in elementary school.
Let’s look at what a book actually is. A ‘book’ is primarily defined in the Oxford Dictionary as; A written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers. Hmmm. That stands to reason that an electronic ‘book’ is not, by definition, a book.
Don’t confuse my love of paper books for lack of knowledge regarding electronic publications. practically one of the original Kobo owners. I have a tablet. I have an (old but functioning) iPhone. I have downloaded oodles and oodles of titles. I have shared titles with a fellow downloader. I have really TRIED to love reading electronically. Despite my efforts, I just don’t. Struggling with backlighting, low battery warnings and all of the other potential distractions that come with reading on a ‘device’ take away the intimacy and connection true ‘readers’ have with their books.
I get the space saving issues with downloading books. I get that it saves millions of trees. I understand it’s convenient and portable. But what it’s not is comforting. I don’t sink into bed after a long day and snuggle up to my tablet, eagerly awaiting the power to come on. No. I do love anticipating opening my paperback to my tassel-adorned-bookmark however. I like clipping a book light onto the last few pages, so as not to disturb my partner (or my chihuahua as the case may be).
Books are part of millions of years of history before us. I bet you didn’t know that historical evidence strongly suggests that the identity of the first book in print will probably never be known, because it’s unlikely that it survived to the present day. There is a great deal of cultural bias in the answer to this question, as some ‘Western’ authorities commonly cite the Gutenberg Bible as the first printed book, while other experts contend that Asia would be the most likely point of origin. The earliest examples of woodblock printing are estimated to date as far back as 220 CE (current or calendar era). That is both fascinating and historical. Things that no electronic book will ever be able to claim.
So relish in every turned page, earmarked corner and coffee stain. Those are the signs of a great read.