Yes, yet another writer chiming in on her perspective on the state of “physical” books. It’s going to be short and sweet and I’m not going to site other posts on other websites. This is a pure opinion piece.
Recently, I had the chance to hold an iPad in my hands and play with the possibilities. Oh, my! I liked it. I really, really liked it. I definitely have my moments of geekdom. Who but an absolute computer-phobe (or Apple-hater, maybe) wouldn’t jump at the chance?
What fun it was to look at my relative’s virtual bookshelf. I could choose a book and start reading. I could change the size of the font and the color of the background or the type. This could be an asset when my eyes are tired and can’t focus as well on the smaller fonts. People have made much of the “page turning” feature – how realistic it is, complete with the sound of the turning page. Ok, I guess that’s cool. I wonder if it would get annoying after a while, though. Of course, that wasn’t the only thing on the iPad. There were games and conversion tools and all kinds of other apps. I haven’t yet seen just a book reader yet. But now that I’ve seen the iPad, I plan to check them out.
This experience hasn’t separated me from my loyalty to physical books yet. I’m proud of my library and love to see the books all lined up on the shelves all over the house. I love the smell of books and the tactile feel of turning the pages. I love the fact that books are simple and self-contained: no batteries or cables or wifi connection required.
I really enjoy reading big ol’ epic novels, but I also dislike traveling with a huge tome or trying to read one in bed. The ease and convenience of having my whole library with me at any time is a delicious thought. Yes, I can see the value of an electronic reader. Electronic reader – not something like the iPad. That’s basically like having a computer with you. Much too much of a distraction, and I have way too many of those right now as it is.
Elecronic readers and iPads and whatever other incarnations of these in the future, are, I believe, here to stay. But will they completely replace physical books? Technology has proven to be very, very good at providing small changes that are capable of big differences in people’s lives. This, surely, will be one of those things. I do think they will eventually replace physical books – but not for a very long time. There will still be hold-outs like myself.
In fact, they will probably have to pry a book out of my cold, dead, hand.