Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Kindle Temptation

The Kindle.

Oh what a dilemma it causes me. I have had to eat my words, and swallow my pride in regards to this little gadget. You see, when the kindle was first introduced to the market, I was its biggest critic. If the kindle was portrayed as some miraculous discovery, I was an atheist. I just didn't believe. Even now, I stand by my judgement that it is a kind of profanity to books - but I stand by it hypocritically, with my purple-cased story-holder sitting just a few centimetres away.

The thing is, there's this little devil perched just above my right shoulder whispering words like "practical, economical, compact", and I do rather relish the fact I don't have to carefully poise myself in bed to prop the page open.

Yet, I still resent it. I'm grateful for it, but I hate it.

The little angel above my left shoulder pleads with me about the sanctity of the book, the tangible product, the gratifying feeling when you close the final page and can see what you've achieved, when you pop the book onto the book-shelf as a constant reminder of that momentary world that you lived in.

"Embrace it" says the devil, "get over your principles."
"Defend it" says the angel, "resist".

Maybe its time to let go? We are living in the digital age after all. Books themselves, will never disappear forever, will they? And if a gadget gets more people reading, then I'm all for it.

But when you look at the transformations occurring in the way publishing houses publish books, pre-releasing in digital format, it makes you wonder at what point in time, maybe 50 years from now, will it become too uneconomical and inefficient to print books. (probably sooner than that at this rate!)

It will be a sad day, the day that e-books take over from ordinary books, like online newspapers are doing for the broadsheet. A sad day for readers, libraries, and culture.

I suppose though, in an ideological world, all that really matters, are the words. Whether it is told to you by your dad at bedtime, or your teacher at school, by a hardback, paper back, audio-book or e-book, it's the story that lasts.

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