Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Physical or Electronic?

Hello Readers!
Today I want to ask a question that has no doubt crossed every book lovers mind over the past few years: Physical or Electronic?

E-readers have become increasingly popular since their release a few years back. Personally, I was not a happy Reader. The idea of giving up my beloved books, the scent of musty pages, the feeling of eagerly flipping pages to live an adventure, was just something that I did not want to be a part of.
One of my favourite things about reading is sharing. The whole point of a story to me is to share the life of the people on the pages so naturally after reading a book that I love, the first thing that I do is pass it on. I love to tell my friends about these incredible stories!  It is a great feeling when you introduce a friend to a book and it becomes just as much a part of their lives as it was/is yours.
Another thing I love is exploring second-hand book stores. In my corner of the world, there are so many quaint little shops that dedicate themselves to the sharing of adventures, romance, personal experiences or whatever you’re into. Earlier I talked about the scent of musty pages – well the kinds of places that I am talking about, has this smell as a natural aroma – and I adore it. Sometimes, you flick through a few pages and if you’re lucky enough there’s a hand-written dedication to someone who loved the book for many years before passing it on for others to enjoy. There may be annotations scrawled between the lines or down the sides of the page. Personal touches. It is all of these things, and many more that had me questioning not only why people would want to trade this, but who.
I was close-minded.
Since the release of e-Readers, Kindles, iPads and every other possible type of electronic reading devices, things have changed.
I was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease and in short, holding books has become more difficult than putting one down. Still, I battled on and carried my books around as always and as an English Literature student, I can tell you that was a task worthy of a medal.

Then, earlier this year, a family friend took pity on me and bought me a Kindle as a Christmas present. I wasn’t sure how to take it. I was still against reading books electronically but it was getting to the point where I couldn’t physically carry around books such as Vanity Fair, Middlemarch and The Mayor of Casterbridge at the same time as well as textbooks and a laptop. I picked up my Kindle, bought the Sherlock Holmes collection, and tried it out. Now I’m not going to say that I was instantly won over, but I think you see where this blog is going.

I have since read a number of books on my Kindle and I truly do love it. My reading experience has improved now that I can get through a book without having to put it down every 30 minutes to give my hands a rest but most importantly – reading electronically does not take anything away from the overall feel of a book. Packing to go to classes or for a weekend trip home has become a lot lighter too! I read fairly fast when I am in the mood so going home for a weekend usually meant packing around 6 books (including university ones) as well as everything else I would need. Now I just pick up my laptop bag and my Kindle and I am good to go. Anywhere. It is so light and easily transportable that I literally find myself carrying it my every day bag. I once took it out to a nightclub by accident as I had forgotten it was in there…oops.

I can hear yourself asking, what happened to all of those reasons why I was against electronic reading. Well! I was being silly. Yes, I love my Kindle and have used it many, many times but I have also bought more physical books than e-books since. I will never stop buying physical books and my house will always be overrun with them but now I’m just a little bit pickier about what format I want for which particular book.  I think it is important to remember that the most important thing about reading is the story itself and not the format that it exists in. As long as there are words, I will be reading them.

I would love to know your opinions on book formats.
Have you switched to e-books? Still a dedicated physical book lover? Or, like me, do you dabble in both? Let me know!

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