In those pages was written a story untold,
A treasure more invaluable then silver, platinum or gold.
With every turned page, a magical spell was cast,
A beautiful essence that would forever last.
A reader and a book-lover’s guilty pleasure,
Our love for books go beyond all measures.
So, let’s talk about that one reason we’re all following and reading this blog now – Books!
Readers are to books what dogs are to bones. You could just push them into a room full of books or a library and never expect them to come out. A nice cup of coffee and a quiet place is all they need to fulfill their wishes. Gift them books to win their hearts or make their birthdays perfect. The way we feel about books is the way Belle in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ reacts when the Beast shows her the library. Funny but true.
The smell of the new pages and the ones that are ancient with age; it’s like a harmless drug for readers. A million stories that spark off our imagination and apart from imparting education, they help us to discover that words may be just mundane like other things to many people but for us, they’re like beautiful galaxies woven and spun together to form a flawlessly stunning universe.
There are words for every genre – that’s their beauty. There’s something for everything. Technology may be a boon to mankind and you could say it’s a blessing for those who don’t like carrying books around in their bags and take the care of maintaining them, but then every coin has a flip side: the screen of ‘Kindle’ could crack for all you know, one click of a button and you could just lose your opportunity of reading. You could drop them and damage them.
E-books stored on laptops and computers; they have a chance of getting lost with the hard-drive crash or any technological glitch for that matter. Handling them with care is another clause that comes with technological products. Not to forget the strain on your eyes when you keep staring at a screen for hours while reading and then comes along another problem – ‘Kindle’ runs on battery that can expire or run out of charge or even get damaged. Without the battery, ‘Kindle’ is basically a box with books that can’t be accessed.
Books, you can carry them anywhere, anytime in any condition; no worries of the ‘Kindle’ not being able to withstand extreme temperatures. Books, you fix them up with tape, put some classic binding and glue them up; all at a reasonable cost. No need to go to a technician and spend a thousand bucks and wait for days to just read a few books!! I mean come on! Paper is so much better than pixels!
1. True ownership of a book:
It’s true that you can own a book and an ‘e-book’. But even the ownership is different. Book makes you have a feel of the ‘physical ownership’, in hard-copy. It becomes a part of yourself. You can hug it and go to sleep. Sit peacefully on a beach, reading a book, with the waves kissing your body and receding, no worries of dropping your book in the water and losing it because the water seeped into the hardware and destroyed it. It’s your constant companion. Scribble notes and ideas, literally and symbolically mark your territory over it. The highlights and markings are one aspect. Then comes the interaction and engaging process with the book.
The plus point – there are visible marks that you’ve bonded with your book. Only if you have a proper book, will people ever know you’ve read it; or anyone else for that matter. You see bent and ‘dog-eared’ pages, a shaking and loose book spine, signs of age and use. People will come to know that the reader has been impacted by the book, the story has had an effect on their lives. On the other hand, send an e-book to someone else; if you get it back, you’ll see the highlights and notes gone, because that’s just how technology is. The ownership belongs to you or your device, not to the book. Last but not the least, when you often to go to a library and see an old book, flip through its pages. See the notes and ideas written over the pages. You’ll get an idea of what kind of experiences different people had with the book and how it has made a mark on those lives. This can never be reproduced in an e-book format.
2. Loan a Book:
You ask me why I hate e-books; they CAN’T be loaned! They have a digital rights management involved which bonds a book to a particular owner. On buying a Kindle book, you could have a copy of it on your device but then again! There comes the system of linking the devices with various accounts. It’s all painful technological processes everywhere just to give yourself the pleasure of reading a great story. In case of books, you can loan one or two or any number. That’s the best – anywhere, any way, any time and how much ever. In case of Kindle, you have to loan your entire reading device; basically, either you loan everything or nothing at all. Then again, even if an e-book doesn’t have any digital management rights, loaning it is very different from real loaning. It’s actually ‘duplicating’ a book. When you loan someone a book, they actually witness your experience with it. There’s a level of trust, intimacy and shared experience in loaning books which can’t be found in electronic books.
3. A single tasking device.
A book is inherently opposed to multi-tasking. Not more than one or two tasks can be performed while reading it. This indirectly implies that a reader can devote nearly 90% of his attention to the story that he/she is reading. No distraction, no problem. This allows the reader to have the best possible reading experience and actually enjoy it. E-books however, are technological devices crafted in such a way that multi-tasking is made possible. Stored in I-Pads or anything else for that matter, e-books contain hyper-links and built-in dictionary and many other applications somehow related to reading which drive the reader away from the wholesome reading experience. They buzz, beep and disengage the reader in many ways.
4. One can buy used books.
Walk down a street and see if you can see even a single e-book store as compared to outlets selling used books. E-books can never be USED, let’s face it. They stay cold, unblemished and untouched but only duplicated for years to come. Their prices never change, they can never be dug out of boxes like long-lost treasure and never suddenly turn up like unexpected old gifts from us to us. They can never be loaned or resold. They stay fresh, unused and forever sustained. There are NO rare first editions or special editions. A used book will be a vestige of the past but irreplaceable and vintage.
Because books are the BEST inventions till date!
About the Author: This is a guest post by Ambalika Chaudhry.