Saturday, December 11, 2010

The slippery slope

I like electronic gadgets but I like books more. If I had to choose (who would be so cruel? I luurve my iPhone/mac) I'd choose books; you know the things, the paper, ink, binding, gorgeous front cover, bit of blurb on the back to entice me in…

I've watched the growth of the e-reader with interest. I haven't been so rash as to declare 'they'll never catch on' but I have felt a certain smugness that there will always be books with pages you can turn, whose spines crease as you work your way through the story. There are too many others like me who love real books.

But will there?

On 1 December this year I was part of Talli Roland's blog splash. Her debut novel The Hating Game was released in Kindle format and wanting to help push the book up the Amazon Kindle ranks I purchased a copy. I don't have any e-reader so I downloaded the Kindle app for my iPhone and bought an electronic copy of The Hating Game.

OMG. I LOVED it. I loved having something entertaining to read wherever I was. As I raced around Bangkok dropping and picking up Daughter who's been rehearsing for three different shows simultaneously I always had something to read without the weight of a book. E-readers are not exclusive; I can like books at the same time as reading on my iPhone.

I knew immediately I finished The Hating Game that I had to have another book on my iPhone for those out and about moments... Think of the reading time you can snatch: waiting in a queue, in a taxi/bus/train. Back at Amazon I realized I will always need real flesh and blood books (To Kill a Mockingbird); those volumes you treasure but there can also be books for your e-reader.

There I've said it. There's room for both. I just hope it isn't the slippery slope. 

So in the meantime what would be your must have, flesh and blood, actual book?

9 comments:

liz fenwick said...

I too have fallen...love both now although they are different.
lx

Megan said...

I got a Kindle before I moved to BKK in August because I had to pack or give away hundreds (literally) of books, and I wanted to streamline my life a little. I do like the convenience of it, but to be honest, I don't think anything will ever replace "real" books. I just don't get excited to pick up my Kindle and fire it up, you know? But I'm also really glad to have it!

Liz said...

Oh dear, slippery slope indeed!

Because it's a favourite, and because it's about how amazing the physical presence of books is, I'd always have to have a 'real' 84 Charing Cross Road (plus, my edition's a gorgeous hardback one).

The main advantage I can see to the kindle is being able to take multiple books on holiday - I always run out which is really annoying. I'd hate to see a day when my books are boxed up (the way my CDs are now) because everything's stored electronically.

Sue Guiney said...

I have an ipad, but I haven't started using it to read books yet though. It's bigger than a kindle so can't really fit into my usual handbook, but I'm wondering if I should give this a try -- especially since my own book is due out on ebook. Seems churlish not to embrace the technology which I hope to take advantage of :-) I like the idea of having on it a fave book that you can always reread whenever, in which case I might get Anthony Trollope's "The Warden."

Jenny Beattie said...

Liz, yes I think the answer is that they live together in harmony.

Megan, that's a brilliant idea. I've accumulated hideous numbers of books since I've been here. I just can't give them away...

Liz, yes absolutely, physical presence is essential. Normally books go in my case first and if I can't fit the clothes and shoes in they don't go....

Sue, do you use iphone or BB? I think putting it on my iphone is just brilliant. It doesn't weigh much and is always with me anyway.

StickyRice said...

I bought a Kindle when I was home on vacation recently and now I'm never without it. Those Bkk traffic jams are so much easier now :) I gave the majority of my books away to the foreign prisoners through my embassy (Australian) and now I don't need to pack them when we move in a few weeks.

Su said...

I like both as well. My favourite thing (currently) about the e-reader is that I can get most of my books in that form, but save my bookshelves (and cash) for the really pretty hardcovers that I'm always swearing I'll collect someday instead of the cheaper falling-apart paperbacks I currently have all over the place. :)

Fran said...

I'd hate to lose some of the books I've taught at school and which are covered in annotations from several different years and little markings which tell me where we finished that lesson etc. It gets a bit confusing, but there's history in dem der books.

Jenny Beattie said...

Sticky Rice, it's definitely the traffic jams, isn't it? I think I will always have something on my iphone to soothe the stress while stuck in a BKK gridlock.

Su, exactly, although I'm not always sure which ones will be those that I love forever until I've read them.

Fran, I love the idea of a book full of notations from different years of teaching. I don't think I still have any of actual volumes that I studied... Shame. Perhaps my parents have them or they're in the roof in the UK...