Reading: The Old Fashioned Way

The publishing world is experiencing the biggest change in history since Gutenberg invented the printing press; that is, the move into the digital world. Ereaders, and the Kindle in particular, have become big business of late and have been hailed as the future of reading. Call me old-fashioned, but I just cannot understand the appeal of the Kindle. As an avid reader and, indeed, belonging to the younger generation, it is assumed that I should be the target market for the latest technological craze. The ease and convenience of having thousands of books at your fingertips is often cited as the main reason why one would want to own a Kindle. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for convenience- living in a modern world are we not all guilty of this? – Yet I have never contemplated leaving my battered paperback on the shelf.
To me, the smell of an old, dusty book is one of life’s simplest pleasures; it transports me to my childhood when I first fell in love with reading and reminds me of those happy hours I spent engrossed in the latest novel. You don’t get that with a Kindle. On a par with the glorious smell is the memories books stir when picked up off the shelf. I often find myself reaching for the books I studied at University- not necessarily to read them, but to thumb through the familiar pages and read the annotations scribbled around the side, to remember how important that book was at a particular point in my life.
Whiling away many an hour in a quaint second-hand bookshop is the perfect Saturday treat. It is my idea of heaven; books of all shapes, sizes, genres piled high, each one possessing a history. I find myself turning to the inside covers, searching for messages from loved ones- personal notes that hint at the identity of the book’s previous owner. Perhaps this is the very reason why I will never abandon the printed book; I need it to feel unique, personal, mine.
Call me old-fashioned, but the Kindle will always be too clinical; it’s cold, hard exterior will never replace the feel of a traditional book. It may be convenient for those who commute long distances daily; it may work out cheaper to purchase E-books than the printed version; it may even encourage tech heads who would not have read a printed book to give reading a chance. However, I’m not afraid to buck the trend; give me an old, dusty book any day.