17 December 2009

To e-read or not to e-read

I've just about heard enough of Kindle. That's just what every other geek is talking about. Kindle .

A quick confession here, I for one, am unable to appreciate the whole concept of e-books. I've tried reading them on my large desktop, on my little laptop, and once, even on a PDA.

And I admit, I hated it. Somehow it simply does not work for me.

Why would I want to read an e-book? What's the fun in that?

Would I have to forgo the pleasure of browsing through a bookstore? What about the pleasure of choosing just one book out of many? How does one pick just one e-book? All things being equal, I sometimes pick the better smelling book.
(Books: 1 | E-books: 0)

On a cool day, I drag my rocker to a sunny patch in my balcony, and cozy up with an old favourite. Half the fun there is to randomly open a page and start reading from there. The older and more dog eared a book gets, the easier it is find a favourite bit and start reading.
(Books: 2 | E-books: 0)

When I'm done reading for a bit, I plonk the book down and take a cat-nap. I don't need to worry about leaving a reader on and think of battery life, charging etc.
(Books: 3 | E-books: 0)

Oh, I could carry just a book everywhere. No need to worry about charger etc.
(Books: 4 | E-books: 0)

But then again, to be fair, an e-book reader would occupy a fraction of the space of a paperback.
(Books: 4 | E-books: 1)

And a reader with a gazillion books stored in it would occupy way less space that one big fat-ish volume of the latest in The Wheel of Time series.
(Books: 4 | E-books: 2)

E-books use up fewer trees and rainforest.
(Books: 4 | E-books: 3)

As I think up fair and equitable arguments I stare at my overflowing bookshelf. It's starting to look a hippo stuffed into a Michael Phelps' speedo. It's double stacked, overflowing and, yes, bursting at the seams. How many gigabytes of Kindle would that work out to, I wonder?
(Books: 4 | E-books: 4)

Now, with a Kindle each, the other half and I wouldn't ever have to fight over the same book. Like we did for the last three Harry Potter releases.
(Books: 4 | E-books: 5)

In which case, it would mean that I could actually see the surface of my bedside table. Which at the moment holds around 20 books.
(Books: 4 | E-books: 6)

But what if one of my brats pulls an e-book reader out of my hands and throws it unceremoniously aside?
(Books: 5 | E-books: 6)

What if the kids want e-books too? Would that mean, I need separate e-book readers for the kids?
(Books: 6 | E-books: 6)

What about all those pleasurable hours spent at book sales, second-hand book stores and library sales?
(Books: 7 | E-books: 6)

What about looking at a friend's bookshelf and going, "hey, I'm helping myself to these.."? I can't imagine browsing through a friend's Kindle to see what she/he has that I don't.. sidey as I made that sound.
(Books: 8 | E-books: 6)

The point tallies aside, how does one 'lend' an e-book? What would an e-book library look or smell like? Goodness, would bookstores just vanish?? Not that I have anything against Amazon, but it just is NOT the same as spending a pleasurable couple of hours at a book store.

As I type, my little one is curled up beside me, and is trying to sleep. It's a fairly cold day too. Just perfect for a cup of hot ginger tea and maybe a PG Wodehouse. Something from the Blandings Castle series, I'd say. Summer Lightning, is just within arm's reach. And the book naturally falls open to my favourite funny bits.

To e-read or not to e-read... that's my question.

Pardon me, while I try not to laugh too loud. This is the bit where Baxter is explaining where the pig is.


Madhumita said...

Vidya - DON'T go over to the other side, I'm telling you. If the urge to read one of those detestable e Books surfaces again, get on a helpline quick! Why do those unspeakable things have to be so darned eco friendly I ask you?

Sanjukta said...

Finally back on the circuit!
e-books will never have those long-lost postcards / papers used as book-marks and kept there only to give you back some sweet memories. Can think of so many such points in favor of books, can't we? If only that saving rain-forests part was not there to make us feel guilty. Sigh!

Tys on Ice said...

there are no such thing as an e-book.

a book needs to be held, it needs to be taken to bed, remembered, loved, thumbed through, misused, torn, thrown,earmarked,bound again, tended to, mended, it needs to grow old, pages to become brittle, turn yellow, fall apart, treasured..

it should be a monument to a society's existence..it shud not be dependent on a power source for its existence...thats a not a book, its a flash in the pan..it has no future after 2012 becoz we will have to reinvent and rediscover electricity to even know it existed...

doesnt exist.

Anonymous said...

Ummm....question - you have time to read?! Or the existential questions are for some foreseeable future?? - Poonam