In recent years a new battle has emerged between physical books and their electronic cousins – the eBook. Many generations of readers hold strong opinions on whether or not a “real” book or an electronic one reigns supreme. Whilst eBooks are becoming more and more popular, here are my top 3 reasons to remain loyal to physical books and why the apocalypse will have hit if you ever catch me favouring popular eReaders such as the Kindle or Kobo.
- We all secretly like to pet books
Yes, that’s right. We love to pet books and we know it. In bookshops we walk past books that we’ve read and cheekily caress their spines. We sit and run our hands over the cover once we’ve completed a novel. We like to feel the different embossing and textures used on the dust jacket or the hardback binding or the glossy paperback edition. Petting eReaders may be satisfying when they’re new (we’re all guilty of rubbing our new phone/laptop/device on our face at least once) but that novelty soon wears off with age. Books, on the other hand, change their texture and feel. They do not become out of date and replaced by a new model. They do not stop working after use for extended periods of times. They remain utterly beautiful.
- Books have their own personality
Alright, hear me out. Every book feels different. Their weight, how they sit in your hands, their energy, it’s different for each individual book. When you return to reread a book, a warm familiarity sits in your mind. You slip into the same feelings you had the first time you read it. It’s like a warm hug.
Now, think about how it feels when you reread a book such as ‘The Book Thief’ and compare that to how it feels when you read any of the ‘Harry Potter’ books? It’s completely different right? It’s different again if you think about books such as ‘Winnie the Pooh’ or any of Jacqueline Wilson’s novels. That’s what I like to call the books’ personality.
All of this is what I love most about reading. Every time you pick up a book, not only do you get a new story and a new world, you get a new warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You can connect to a book on that deeper level. With the turn of each page that feeling deepens and these books stay with you far longer than that final full stop on the last page.
Compare that experience to reading an eBook. No matter how the words make you feel, what emotions they evoke, they cannot change the weight in your hands or the feel of the pages between your fingertips. You cannot feel the same “personality” running through you when the pages of words are flashed up on the same screen making it no different form reading a webpage. You have no idea how far through the book you are because you can’t turn an eReader on its side to find out. As much as you cannot argue against the convenience of holding thousands of books in one device, for me this just isn’t a big enough compensation for the loss of that essence of reading.
- That gorgeous, intoxicating book smell.
Here we have it folks. This is my ultimate deal breaker for why you will never convert me from a physical copy of a book to their digital counterparts. The very first thing I do when I pick up a book is take a nice long smell of the pages. There’s something beautiful and incomparable about the smell of paper bound together into a story. Ever wondered why us book nerds are said to always have our “nose stuck in a book?” I bet that’s because for ages past, all literature enthusiasts have always enjoyed the novel smell drug.
Now some of you may think this makes me completely insane, however the rest of you know exactly what I am talking about. We all share in the irresistible urge to enjoy the whiff of any bound pages – books, brochures, theatre programmes etc, and we all know that, no matter how hard anyone tries to make up for this, books will always own our hearts over this digital age.