Kindles and eBooks - wanna know what my immediate reaction to them are?
Yuck. As in - no thanks. As in - get that thing away from me before I do something nasty to it.
I'm not a luddite. I just don't like electronic readers. I know the word on the street is that they will replace real books and to people who spout that belief I say: piffle. Wanna know why?
- Because books are part of our culture - real books, the ones made out paper with a cover and a spine. History marks a huge turning point in our evolution when the printing press was invented and information (that glorious ethereal substance) became available to the masses. Power, in the form of the written word, was available to the everyday man where once he was completely at the mercy of the ruling classes and religious figures. Women now had the opportunity to form their own opinions, even to express their own. And you can't tell me that an electronic reader is going to help the inhabitants of third world countries improve their lot in life - but a shipment of books? now that's a different story.
- Ask anyone who loves (and I mean really loves) books what they think of libraries and bookstores and there's another HUGE reason why an eBook will never replace a real book.
- Funnily enough the research is showing that students HATE electronic readers. Yay for them!!
- Be honest, how many times have you seen someone at the airport, on a train, waiting for a bus, during their lunch hour reading a book and snuck a peek at what they were reading and then formed an opinion (even just a sketchy one) about them? Knowing what someone is reading is like them giving you a piece of information about themselves without saying a word. As a writer that's priceless. It's impossible to tell what someone is reading on a Kindle unless you ask them - and who wants to do that?
- Kindles break easily, are not satisfying for tactile people like moi and they don't format poetry properly.
It might be easier. But it isn't right.
In the words of Dr Ian Malcom from Jurassic Park:
"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."