Every year for Christmas, my dad buys me and my brother technology-related gifts. When he bought me a Kindle Fire one year, I anticipated a paradigm shift in how I enjoyed one of my favorite pastimes — reading. There had been Kindles and other e-readers around my home before that point, but they had never been mine, so I hadn’t had much experience with them.
I was really excited about my Kindle Fire at first. It was so entertaining to read books, play games and bounce around on social networking sites all on one device. However, after a few months, the novelty of my Kindle wore off and I began reverting to paper books. I still use my Kindle for games and social media, but I don’t use it as an e-reader anymore.
One of the reasons I don’t use my Kindle to read books is because I already have lots of books that are paper that I want to read. My family teases me that my bedroom isn’t a bedroom at all — it’s really a library with my bed and clothes in it. To be honest, that isn’t too far from the truth. I have the hardest time walking by someone who’s selling books and not buying at least one. For me, the older the book, the better. It’s terrible, but sometimes I buy books not because I necessarily want to read them, but because they’re old or they’re especially pretty or it would be a great topic to learn more about. If there are books to be had, I will rationalize a reason why I need to buy them. Being a poor college student, I don’t really have the money to buy more books that I don’t need.
Beyond the plethora of paper books I already own, I really enjoy the feel of paper between my fingers and the physical act of reading a book. There’s a pleasure behind flipping pages, smelling the glue that binds the spine and experiencing the craftsmanship that goes into making a book that just isn’t there in an e-reader. For ages, only the rich could afford books because they were literally works of art, created by artisans who spent their entire lives working to perfect their art.
The words are all the same on e-readers, but I don’t get that visceral connection to the story, to the characters, when I can’t hold the different books in my hands. Plus, it’s far less satisfying to throw an e-reader than a paper book across the room or at a wall when something doesn’t go the way you wanted it to. Not to mention throwing the e-reader is a far more expensive fix than a book if that toss of frustration ends in damage.
Another reason I enjoy paper books is the experience of buying that book. With the advent of the Internet, it’s easy to buy anything online. I am a huge fan of online shopping, but buying books is something I have to do in the store. I love seeing so much knowledge, experience, time and potential all lined up on shelves, like kindergartners getting ready for their first day at school.
E-readers can be a great option for lots of people in lots of situations, but they’re not my favorite electronic device. Sure, they’re fun to use as a tablet for surfing YouTube, playing games and spending inordinate amounts procrastinating homework, but it just doesn’t do the trick for me. I already have a million-and-a-half paper books I need to read. I love to be able to hold my books and have a physical connection with the book. The physical act of reading and buying books, of flipping pages, wandering through shelves and shelves of books, is something I find really satisfying that cannot be accomplished with an e-reader.
E-readers are a great option for some bookworms, but not for me.