I love reading. And I love books. But I do not – and have no wish ever to – own a Kindle or other e-reader.
So I’m really happy that all those harbingers of doom who predicted the demise of the “real” book have been proved wrong. Sales of real, physical books made of paper are doing very well, thank you.
For me, no electronic screen can be a satisfying substitute for the feel of a book in your hand. I love the look of book covers, and the smell of the paper. There’s the satisfaction of seeing your bookmark steadily progress through the pages as you become more and more absorbed in the story. I am also interested in the science which suggests we are much more likely to remember a story printed on paper because of the subliminal clues our brain absorbs as we read. Things like where on the page an incident occurred can help anchor it in our consciousness.
Another “real” book benefit
Last week, quite by chance, I discovered another benefit of a real book over an e-book. On a long train journey, I started a new book. I had bought “The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness” by Arundhati Roy for two reasons. Firstly, I enjoyed her first book, “The God Of Small Things”, immensely. Secondly, my eye was caught by the beautiful cover artwork.
As the train approached my stop, I got up from my seat and headed for the door. Another woman who was getting off at the same stop met my eye.
“Excuse me,” she said, “but was that ‘The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness’ you were reading? I recognised the cover . . .”
So began a brief, unexpected and very enjoyable chat about books we had loved between two complete strangers who then went their separate ways. Now you wouldn’t get that with the Kindle version!