Ignore the Fire Hazard

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?

About the author

Leetah Begallie

Leetah is a writer and graphic designer who lives on Vancouver Island in Beautiful British Columbia. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband (Matt), her dog (Isla), and her three pet rats (Avi, Lily, and River).

She writes mostly fantasy but enjoys tying in other genres to her stories.

10 Comments

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  • There is a difference in how I process an ebook v. a paper one. I’m must less patient with ebooks that aren’t interesting, well-edited or well-written. I should do a test and try to read books I’ve dismissed on my e-reader in their paperback versions. That way I could tell if it’s the medium (McLuhan says it is) or the material itself.

    • I find I notice more typos in ebooks than paper versions. I also tend to read ebooks a lot faster. I think that may be because I skim more since I am used to skimming things on a screen.
      That’s a good experiment to try! Let me know how it goes 🙂

  • I prefer physical books when I can, but the reality is that I sometimes need to use my kindle due to lack of space / price / or speed if I want it quickly (living out in HK, it can take weeks for a book to arrive when I order it online). Although it’s not as special as a real book, the kindle is pretty amazing!

    • Yes, the convenience of being able to buy a book and start reading it right away without having to leave the house is amazing. Waiting a few weeks for a book would be torture!

  • Oh, a physical book, no contest. I love the feel, the smell. Technological devices? Bah. I don’t like the electromagnetic energy rays that zap me when in their vicinity.

  • It depends on the book, sometimes. For instance, generally I’m a big fan of downloading ebooks from my local library, reading them on my Nexus 7 tablet. But I’ve been on a Discworld kick lately, and there are a few reasons I don’t like to read Discworld books that way; it isn’t as convenient to navigate in books without chapters, and the footnote hyperlinks never work well. So if I have a choice, I’d rather borrow a physical Discworld book, (even a heavy hardcover) from the library than an ebook.

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