I was just looking through some old folders from school (I was searching for a short story I had written) and I came across this piece of writing. It’s from a non-fiction creative writing course that I took in the 2012 winter semester and I thought it was kind of funny. I wrote, basically, that hardcover books are better than eReaders, which is funny because now I own an eReader! Although I still prefer the real thing… (but paperbacks are easier to read from than hardcovers, so I don’t know what I was talking about back then…)
Ignore the Fire Hazard
Reading is essential in the everyday life of our culture. But what we read and how we read it, is usually up to each individual. There are novels, newspapers, magazines, comic books, textbooks, and many articles and blogs online. As for novels, we can choose to read a hardcover, a trade paperback, or a mass market paperback. Plus, with all the technology in the world today, we can read novels online, on our Smartphone, or via an eReader. But nothing beats reading a good, old-fashion, hardcover book.
The feel of a brand new hardcover book in your hands is astounding. You feel the weight of it; the density of the words inside. I, personally, always take the dust jacket (the detachable outer cover) off before I begin to read. I do not want to accidentally ruin it. I put this aside, with my other books, in the safety of my bookshelf. Usually, the cover underneath is plain on the front and back, but will have the normal information (title, author’s name, publishing company) along the side in metallic writing. The simplicity of the cover is refreshing after the design of the dust jacket.
The inside of the book is made from crisp, high quality paper. The paper, and the book itself, are more durable and will last longer than a trade paperback or mass market paperback. The paper has a fresh, wood like smell that is stronger than the scent of either paperback types, and that would be non-existent for any technological way of reading. It is real, and you are holding it in your hands.
As the pages turn, you get a feeling of accomplishment. You can put your finger in between the pages and say to yourself, “I’ve read this much, and I have this much more to go.” You can flip to the glossary, if there is one, to look something up. You can flip back if you see something that was foreshadowed chapters before without losing your current page. You can place your bookmark, or whatever you like, to mark your place for next time. Please, just do not fold over the corner of the page.
Another beauty of the hardcover book, is that you can keep them all lined up on your bookshelf. The neatly placed books, among trinkets and bookends, are a practical decoration for your home. Or the haphazardly scattered books on a table, chair, or even the floor can even be pleasing to the eye. Just ignore the fact that it is a fire hazard. You cannot have your eReader books on display in your home.
Yes, eReaders are convenient, but they do not give you the same experience as a real book does. If you are on the go, then an eReader is perfect, but if you are relaxing on the couch, on the porch, or on the beach, nothing beats the real thing. Plus, there is always the chance that your eReader will break, or the battery will die, then it would leave you bookless (which is unacceptable). But again, it is up to personal preference.
Whether you choose to read from one of the three forms of a real book, or via a technological device, you will still be getting the same story, but your experience of that story may be affected. When deciding whether to buy a book or to buy an eReader, keep your experience preference, and when and where you will be reading in mind.
I hope you enjoyed that excursion into my mind from over 3 years ago. What method of novel reading do you prefer?