The 21st century has quickly brought us, the Western culture, to a technological utopia. When the newest bestseller breaks records and tops the charts, we don’t have to wait weeks for the nearest bookstore to restock, we can instantly download it to our tablet, e-reader, phone, or computer. However, bound books cannot be replaced by technology.
Consider this: books. Books with real, sometimes ripped pages. Books with strong or even loosened bindings, depending on how many times it had graced the hands of an eager reader. Books with an aroma, an aroma of literature, the nectar of words as they lay on a page.
For an English major, like myself, (yes, guilty) books contain so much more than words. They offer a bridge into a new world of dreams, adventure, and escape. This world is best entered through turning physical pages.
Those who have experienced the frustration of finding out that your favorite character in a suspense novel turns out to be the “one who did it,” know what relief it brings to be able to hurl the book across the room. Several of you, out there have done it, you know who you are.
We wouldn’t be able to do this if our book was simply downloaded onto our phone, or our tablet. How many of us would even consider, for a millisecond, launching our tablet or iPhone against the opposite wall of our bedroom? Not happening.
Books are irreplaceable. They allow us to become more intimate than any electronic device would allow.
They also allow us to connect with our predecessors, those from previous generations who are no longer with us. In reading a real, tangible book, I am participating in an activity that Benjamin Franklin, Napoleon Bonaparte, Laura Ingalls Wilder, all took part in.
These historical figures didn’t simply order The Hunger Games on their tablet or iPhone and start reading. Had The Hunger Games been written at that time, they would have waited to read a physical copy.
Because we have such easy access to books, we do not appreciate the possibilities found within them.
I must admit, I have an e-reader. I love it. I love having instant access to books, plus, it makes obtaining textbooks and class assigned readings much cheaper and much easier to obtain. For those reasons, I think e-readers are wonderful.
However, I will also buy physical copies of books, even if they are already on my e-reader. I do this because there is simply no comparison between the two. If I am in love with a book, I will love it infinitely more if I have a physical copy, I do not connect with the e-book as well.
I love technology, but not as much as books, you see. Books will never be able to be fully replaced by what technology has to offer. Though convenient and, often, cheaper, e-books are simply not as fulfilling as a real book.