I like books. No, I love books, not just reading them; I enjoy the physical experience of reading them. I like gadgets too, but I’m not sure that the Kindle® and its ilk are going to be as popular.
(The Kindle® is one of the recently released ‘Electronic Books’, meant to replace ‘proper’ books. Digital Rights Managment is included, as it is with everything these days, because we are all thieves. I’m pretty sure that’s their reasoning, it’s certainly how I interpret things).
I have a number of reasons:
- Lose the kindle® and you lose all your books.
- Neither are waterproof, but a book can dry out.
- Books are furniture, a Kindle® is not.
- You can lend a book to a friend, an electronic book will not let you do this because of DRM. Unless you lend them your entire library.
- An electronic novel does not make such a good present, and you cannot write ‘Merry Xmas Mum!’ on the inside cover.
- You cannot touch an electronic novel, only the device that contains it. I’m not a robot, I want to touch things.
- Books do not require re-charging. Ever.
- Books are bio-degradeable.
- No-one is going to try and steal a £7 paperback, but an electronic device costing hundreds of pounds? Yes.
- You can’t use amusing bookmarks. Not a deal-breaker for me to be honest, but in the past I have used bank statements, bits of string, post-it notes & Estonian currency as bookmarks.
- If you need to have 2 books open at once you are going to get very annoyed very quickly with an electronic device.
- Books aren’t going to smash if you drop them, throw them at a cat, or use them to prop up the leg of a table.
I never said this was scientific, or even accurate, but I have a definite feeling that the electronic book is an invention we don’t really need.
Of course there are situations when an electronic book would come in handy – travelling would be a good example – but many where the only advantage to everyone buying all their book again for their Kindle® is the money the publishers are going to make. And when you’ve bought all your books in one format, they’ll change the format again in a decade just like they’re doing with VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray/HD, so you can buy it all over again.