For me the acid test has been can we share a bed, fall asleep together and be comfortable? And if the answer is No, well, our relationship is going to be a fairly rocky one. And that’s where we are – e-books and I.
I see the convenience, I see it is going to be `the future’ but.. hey, call me old-fashioned, call me `late adopter’, whatever, but I am a little finicky about who shares my bed!
Don’t get me wrong. I am quite comfortable with my laptop, and if I had one (which I don’t since I don’t take to e-books) I would have been at ease with a Tab or a reader too. My laptop is not a `thing’, a `tool’, an inanimate object. It throws attitude at me sometimes, I yell, cajole, pray even beg it at times to co-operate. Other times we are on a roll and zip through our deadlines on roller-skates. The moot point is.. it has its own personality, existence and is not just a medium. When I read e-books on it, it interjects with its own `why the hell are you wasting time on this s*#t’ , or `yeah, now THAT’S a nice line’.. It brings noise into my reading cause it reads all that I read, is privy to everything else I do. It knows me.
And importantly too, it does not fit snugly with my contours as I laze in bed. It is uncompromising in shape, feel and, dear lord, it does NOTHING for my poor nose.
A book (I refuse to qualify it as physical book, the e-book is the interloper, let it have a new name) on the other hand is like a universe in itself. Enticing. Mysterious. A smell and feel all its own. It sits there on the shelf, never crying for attention, yet completely warm and welcoming when you turn to it. No fuss. No attitude. Take it to bed. Perch it on your stomach, place it on the pillow whatever. It gently drops as you fall asleep, making sure you drift away without a care about battery dying, wires pulling, getting tangled at night and so on.
And it fills me with delight to know that a sci-fi writer of the stature of Ray Bradbury shares my outlook. He is quoted as saying,
“Electronic books are junk. To hell with them. It’s fake, it’s stupid! Goddamnit, it’s wrong! A book is a book!”
Hey, he wrote about today the day-before. He can’t be way wrong now can he? 🙂