I like to consider myself a pretty modern member of society.
When I’m hungry and feeling lazy, which typically encompasses the majority of my free time, I don’t feel one modicum of guilt abusing the luxury of Seamless.
I haven’t really been inside a physical retail store in about two years. I use Uber often; I tweet absurdly, and the majority of flirting I do, at least successfully for that matter, is done over Facebook.
With all that said (usually done in 140 characters or fewer), I do, in fact, draw a line – a line etched around all things literature-related. In other words, F*CK an e-book.
Yes, I said it. I know it’s a bold statement, but I’m ready to defend it with every inch of my scholarly existence. See, certain things will undergo technological makeovers for the purpose of convenience, and I’m generally fine with that.
Catching a cab in Manhattan during the winter – when you’re either high or drunk (bonus!) – is probably one of the least ideal scenarios in which you could find yourself.
Insert Uber, and you suddenly find yourself with warmth, a promptly-timed vehicle and even Bluetooth capability to play your music. Uber is more convenient than the alternative -- shudder -- a yellow cab.
Aa e-book, on the other hand, IS NOT. In fact, in most cases, that iPad you’re e-reading off will actually be bigger than the paperback book itself! E-books, my dear readers, are not more convenient than the alternative.
Here’s why all my books will always have pages:
Books are meant to have margins for scribbled notes.
If you read something good, it should make you think. If you’re thinking, you’ll need somewhere to write down these thoughts. You can’t do that on a Kindle, there’s no room for scribbles and lines and circled words.
Books are meant to have a feel.
Books are meant to have a feel, a unique feel, not simply be an extension of your iPhone – where the Tinder icon is right next to it on your shortcuts menu.
Sometimes, books are meant to be judged by their covers.
Not entirely, of course – I’m sure there are some really good books with sh*tty covers – but there are times when you’ll get drawn into a book solely because of the strength of its cover, only to love it afterwards.
Books are meant to be picked up, not downloaded.
You should physically have to get up off your ass to buy a book. Downloading a book seems lazy, and all good things should require a bit of effort.
You should have to feel the experience of walking down aisles and sections and not just click a few parts of a touch screen.
Pages are meant to be dog-eared, not swiped electronically.
Dog-ears are timeless. There’s a feeling that comes with finishing the end of a suspenseful chapter, and just kind of marinating in the suspense for a second before folding down the corner of the page and retiring for the evening. Swiping is for Tinder, and it’s best to keep these actions separate.
Words are meant to be underlined, not magnified.
You should be able to do whatever you want to the pages of a book. Underline them, highlight them, circle them – whatever.
It’s impossible to do anything like that on a tablet, aside from magnify them with your two fingers.If you need to magnify the text of an e-book, you should already sense something isn’t… kosher.
Books are meant to be borrowed, not emailed.
Borrowing books is a concept as old as books themselves. Books are meant to be read and passed off to friends to be read some more. Emailing e-books isn’t the same.
You’re supposed to email generic chain letters to the family for the holidays, not good reading material.
Books are meant to have ink that runs, not text that disappears.
There’s something fishy about reading off a tablet, and watching the text disappear as you “read a different page.” Text is supposed to be permanent on the page -- physically permanent. You lose this aspect when you’re reading off a Kindle.
Books are meant to be read under proper lighting, not LED backlighting.
People back in the day used to read under candlelight -- so don’t you feel a little lazy reading them with a light that’s been provided to you? Unless you live in a community without any electricity, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a room with proper lighting to read.
This is maybe the most rational support for a Kindle, but I still don’t buy it.
Books are meant to be creased, not cracked.
If you’re anything like me, your iPhone screen is always cracked. If I had an iPad, I’m sure it would be cracked, and if I had a Kindle? I’m sure it wouldn’t be any different.
Regardless, a cracked screen could never equate to comfortable reading. Creases, on the other hand, add character to well-used books.
Books are meant to be put on shelves, not in pockets.
Books are meant to be stacked on shelves or tossed in libraries, not pockets.
A lot of terrible things can happen in pockets, and when you get a little too drunk at the bar and lose your phone, it would suck to have this scenario rear its ugly face along with the rest of your nightly reading.
Books are meant to be collected, not stored on a hard drive.
Walking into someone's bedroom and seeing an entire area dedicated to Hunter S. Thompson can tell you a lot about people, even if you’re just meeting them.
You can tell a lot about people through their collection of books, but that becomes increasingly impossible when they're enclosed on a hard drive, somewhere in the iCloud.
Books are meant to be opened, not turned on.
Ah, sitting down after a long day – flipping open a book – and escaping everything. That’s peaceful.
Sitting down and clicking a button on the side of a tablet, though? Eh, not really.
Books are meant to be inhaled, not handheld.
You’re supposed to get into a book – you’re supposed to feel it – and it shouldn’t just get felt inside your palms, either.
Books are meant to have pages – ones you actually can flip.
Books are meant to have pages. That’s just one key component of reading I’m not ready to abandon. I like flipping pages as I read; I like circling words; I like using bookmarks. I simply don’t like the aspect of reading a slate of electronics.
Books contain knowledge, and that knowledge is easily visible when you look at the width of a book's spine. Each page contains something you can learn and shouldn’t be hidden on the premise of “sleekness.”
My books will always have pages.