The fluttering of pages, the smell of a new book, the feel of hardcover – any book lover could tell what I am talking about. Yes, these are the things that make you clutch a book and read it. It wouldn’t be amiss to say these are the qualities that make a paper book better than an e-book or a Kindle. Being a book lover myself, I can attest to it. But what surprises me is the abomination people have for Kindles. What bewilders me further is the fact that most of thEM who detest Kindles haven’t even tried reading one.
In this article, I’ll try to explore the various advantages e-books or Kindles have over paper books and discuss the areas where they have an upper hand to repudiate the assertion of their being worthless. I feel it is important here to define the two key terms; of e-book and Kindle. An e-book is any electronic book that you can read on your computer or mobile screen. A Kindle is a device specifically for reading books. It does not serve any other purpose. Although there is a difference between the two, in this article, however, I am going to use the two terms as belonging to one and the same category owing to their being electronic in nature.
A Kindle carries a whole library
An e-book is specially favoured by readers who travel frequently or those who like reading multiple things at a time. While on a plane or on the bus, you can carry an e-book or Kindle with you and utilize that time reading all the way to your destination. Ever experienced a longing to read the book you didn’t bring on a flight or on the bus? I have, at least. With a Kindle in your hand, you can have several books in one place. Open any book any time with the single touch of a finger and enjoy the most pleasurable of all the activities on earth – reading.
If you have e-books on your phone or device, you must know the number of books they can save. Kindles not only give you access to thousands of books, but also keep telling you about the latest additions to the digital world.
They say you can’t highlight your favourite paragraphs
The very allegation underscores the ignorance of the attackers and lack of experience as a Kindle user, and therefore, to put in a broader perspective, a resistance to embrace anything ‘modern’. It seems to be coming out of no concrete observation based arguments but groundless presuppositions. In the defense and as an informer, I would tell my readers there are many versions of Kindles these days. You can highlight and mark the pages. Whenever you want to continue from a different page, go to the bookmarks and there you are! Only the process is different, the end result is the same. You can also see the paragraphs highlighted most frequently by other readers so that you don’t miss any significant point.
The products of modern technology
There is, unfortunately, an unwillingness in the general public to befriend anything that carries the label of ‘technology’, or even worse ‘modern technology’. I fail in all my attempts to understand why they remonstrate against the use of technology for reading and not for entertainment. LED and AC are as much the products of technology as the Kindle is. Why there is a discriminatory favour granted to the former and a prejudiced contempt for the latter boggles my mind.
Do you remember what you read?
The so-called critics of kindle ask: ‘Do you remember what you read on an e-book?’ It comes more as a rhetorical question than an inquisitive one. There is no unanimous agreement on the claim that you don’t remember much if you read a book online. I came across many pieces research that favour the claim, however, there were others too that negate the concept. I personally know so many people who read a lot of books online and don’t get tired of it. Nobody remembers completely what they have read. Besides, there are techniques for extracting and remembering the most out of a book. It does not have anything to do with electronic or paper book. So, I would strongly advise book lovers to look at both the sides before adopting any belief without giving it a single thought.
You can’t read a complete book online
To speak the truth, there is no limit as to how much one can read. You can literally read books after books on a Kindle. You can read while ensconced in the chair, lying on the couch or leaning against a tree. Thick books don’t make your device heavy. Whereas, physical books that are too thick can’t stay in the hand for too long. Once you get the hang of it, you will enjoy reading the bulk of books for much cheaper. Don’t worry yourself sick if you are short of money, you can still get a hold of the latest books on the Kindle.
You can’t gaze on the screen for hours
Yes, that’s true for many. Even I can’t fix my gaze at the screen for hours and hours WITHOUT MY GLASSES. There are these special glasses available at any optic shop that save your eyes from the harmful rays of a laptop/computer screen. Spend a few bucks on them and the problem is solved. Also, I must mention there are Paperwhite editions of Kindles now that bear a strong resemblance to a paper book. Moreover, you can read them in the sun too. The additional advantage is that you can change the font size and column width as per your desire. So, I can’t see how a Kindle harms you.
They don’t have that smell
The final attack is made on grounds of smell. Yes, I agree the smell of paper books excites you to at least pick it up and flick through the pages. However, it does not always push you to read the book and besides the smell fades away soon. If we take this point at face value, there is no place for second-hand books then. I for one don’t think this factor is enough to substantiate the superiority of paper books in the face of so many advantages we know of Kindles.
We like to stay in the status quo and that explains why our impulsive response to anything that looks different and functions differently is marked by rejection and contempt The fact is that you are so used to doing manual work while reading that even the thought of operating an electronic device for reading purposes distresses you. Twisting, turning, and squashing the pages with the surge of emotions, dog-earing the corners to get back to the favourite passages, sniffing the pages to absorb the fresh smell are the things every book lover, including myself, loves to do. I, nevertheless, don’t think that puts Kindle at a disadvantage in any way. You can probably enjoy using Kindle if you try. Over and above that, tons of them being downloaded and purchased every moment points towards the growing acceptance for e-books all around the globe.
I must clarify that my battle is not against paper books and I don’t advocate their replacement by e-books either. I myself am a huge fan of paper books, so much so that my shelf is creaking under the weight of books. But the problem is with antiquated minds who take no time in lambasting anything that is a form of technology, save those that satisfy other than educational needs.
Whether to use or not to use e-books and Kindles is your choice. You have a right to form your own opinions about things and if you don’t like reading soft copies, it’s absolutely okay. Before attacking any idea or thing, though, do some self-examination as to whether your arguments are backed by evidence and are not a manifestation of a rebellious approach to innovation.
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