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Sunday, 5 June 2011

To Read or Not To Read

As someone who loves to write & read I have been thinking quite a bit about books vs. technology. Having recently started to subscribe to a writer’s magazine there’s been a lot of topics & debates surrounding this certain topic.

Will technology take over the need for us to buy & own books? Will we become a society addicted to reading e-books rather than physically browsing, buying and then opening up a good book? What will it mean for authors if all novels become digital instead of witnessing their words on a page being thumbed over for many years to come even when it’s falling to bits? Surely that is a sign of good book!

I can see the viewpoint though of the digital era. It makes sense when say for example you’re bedridden or before you go to sleep to pick up an e-reader & read ‘a book’ on one screen instead of trying to balance a book while finding the right position to lie in, it makes life easier.

But surely that could also equal laziness? Just staring at a screen instead of handling a book & shifting around, to me sounds lazy. Then of course you have the argument of every health expert telling us that in order to sleep soundly means not watching TV in bed or not being on a laptop in bed…basically don’t touch/view/access anything that is digital based in bed as it will disturb your sleep…therefore staring into the depths of an e-book reader theoretically wouldn’t help you sleep (let alone damage your eyes….well it would to mine when I want to read for a solid 2-3 hours)!

The big point though for me is the idea of losing the book format. The way that when you pick a new book up, it smells & feels new, the pages are crisp & fresh or with an old book its like you can smell the years on it. The sound a book makes as you turn the page or as you slide your hand down the inside of the binding…you can’t sense/feel/smell any of that on an e-reader!!

So for me I’m sticking to the traditional way of reading, by picking up that new or old book, opening the cover, finding that first page & reading till the last page, placing it neatly on my bookcase & enjoying the look of it in amongst some well read books. No matter how many books I have & collect I shall never get tired of twisting & turning trying to find a comfy position to lie in while balancing a recently purchased enjoyable book in my hands!

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