Reading is one of those pleasures in life that I wish I had more time for. I love nothing better than on a rainy day just curling up on the couch under a doona with a beagle sleeping on my feet and reading a book. It is pure bliss. But the most important part of that experience is the humble paperback book itself. I wholeheartedly agree with the unnamed author of Reading? It’s Already Covered (the SMH didn’t bother to note who wrote it) when he/she sings the praises of the paperback book over the e-book. I can see the appeal of the e-book, especially for people who are traveling or commuting to work. To have 200 books on one handheld reader is much more easier to carry around than 200 paperbacks. However, when at home, I just can’t see the appeal of sitting down with a e-book when you can sit down with a paperback. An e-book looks exactly the same regardless of what book you are reading, but with paperbacks, every single book is unique. It feels different in your hands than the book you read previously, the pages smell different and if you are a disgusting person like I am, then the food stains on the pages are different. Actually it is kinda fun playing identify the food stain on books – you get bonus points if you are eating the same food as the stain.
If e-books took off, what would book cover designers do for a living? Also what else would we line every single wall in our living room with if not with bookcases? Bookstores would be reduced to an ATM like contraption in which you could plug in your e-book and download the latest bestseller. Second hand bookstores would no longer exist except for a small handful to cater for those weird people who collect paper books. Yuck! Imagine that horrible future. I love technology, but this is one area where technology is not welcome. It would take away the many simple pleasures I have in my life. I can spend hours wandering through a bookstore and even longer in second hand bookstores. I find it extremely relaxing, although it is a bit frustrating as there are so many books I want to buy, but can not afford to. Also there is a sensory competent to reading books that an e-book just can not replicate.
I will not be one of those people racing to purchase the new Amazon Kindle or the Dymocks’ iLiad. I will be at home on my couch with my paperback book.