I was going to include this in the links post on Friday but I seem to have a lot more thoughts about this than I realised, so best I put it here. This is the thing I read on Monday that got me thinking about it.
E-books have changed the way I read but the idea of reading competing with checking email and video games and all the other stuff you can do on your phone is probably more relevant for digital natives. I’m firmly in the category of digital immigrant anyway but reading always is my distraction from pretty much everything so that doesn’t apply to me. The way I read has changed this year due to my resolution to buy no more than 12 books in 2015. I’ve used the library and the library e-books service more which means that I’ve read more on my i-pad than my kindle and more physical books. Each medium has it’s advantages and limitations. The ipad is too shiny and it’s difficult to read outside while waiting for the train, I also couldn’t read on it after 9pm because of the no screens an hour before bed rule. Books especially large ones and hardbacks are awkward to carry on the commute. The kindle is great for reading something straight through but it’s hard to track back and re-read something. I love all of them, I love that on the very rare days, I forget my book or kindle, I can access the kindle app on my phone.What I’ve noticed, in the last few months is that not owning physical books, has made the sharing part of reading harder. Yes, I post about what I read and I talk about it but because I can’t lend my kindle or library books and reading becomes a more solitary pleasure. This weekend, Jo grabbed a book off my bookshelves (a biography of Beau Brummell) and Ma borrowed a couple of Georgette Heyer’s, prompted by a conversation with Jo. Both Ma and Jo are frequent borrowers of the GH collection but both of them have their own copies of the ones that they love. Which lead to Ma reading me sections of Friday’s Child, where Ferdy is explaining that he’s being followed around by that Greek chap (Nemisis!). There is something about physical books which mean that as much as I love my kindle and the library e-book service, I won’t ever not have actual books in my house and the proof of me really enjoying something is that I buy a physical copy of it.Physical books are more than just the information inside them. I have books that my mother read as a child and those books connect me to her and my grandparents in a way that I don’t think a kindle ever will, because we both held this book in our hands to read it. Just as writing things by hand rather than typing them changes how we absorb information, I think what we read things on changes how we view the information we read. I loved reading the Temaire books this year but I am amused by how much I want to own the physical books and read those.
So yes e-books are changing how we read and there are many advantages to this but I suspect I never will lose my love of a paper book. A book that sits on a bookshelf reminding me of all the worlds I can visit and things I can learn.