Monday, January 9, 2012

A book by any other name...

My darling, talented-at-choosing-presents Kim, got me an e-reader for Christmas. Woop! I'm not ashamed to admit I did a little happy dance when I opened it.

Don't get me wrong, I love books, as in the real, hardcopy kind ;) They are just about my favourite thing in the world. And the e-reader is not fabulous for all books of course. I mean, who would attempt to drool over a lushly photographed cookbook or coffee-table art book on a digital interface?

Also, the first book I opened on the Kobo was one of my all-time favourite books, Austen's Pride and Prejudice - one of the free 100 books that come loaded already. Let me tell you it was pretty weird to read that famous line 'It is a truth universally acknowledged...' on something so modern and techy. I would probably still pick up a real book for a classic.

But the very first book I actually bought and downloaded was a new release, Marieke Hardy's You'll be sorry when I'm dead, and it was $4.09. Yup, you read it right. How can you go wrong? I've downloaded a few more since, mostly non-fiction.

As well, not being back-lit, it's easy on the eyes so you sort of forget you're reading on it until you turn the page with a click!

I also want to read the Steve Jobs biography. Have you actually been into a bookshop and seen how thick it is? I could use it as a makeshift table it's so massive! Much easier to carry around that particular tome on a digital file and save on a physio bill.

I read an article last year about snooping. It was about how in the new era of the e-book, people's bookcases will tell you very little. It used to be that a bit of amateur psychology could be performed by checking out the books owned by a new friend. Well, not anymore, this article was saying. Because if the person has an e-reader, their bookshelf is now frozen in time, effectively a museum piece describing the person they used to be.

I don't think my bookshelf will become a museum piece exactly. I still buy plenty of art and illustration books and I'm terrible for picture books. I can't stop myself. So the book is in no danger...not from me anyway.

I think if anything, it might end up evolving a little to serve a different purpose - perhaps become a bit of a luxury item - beautiful objects to be collected, made with high quality paper and containing beautiful images.

I was very interested to read this article last week which offered this for people worried about the future of the book: 'We should concentrate on the message, not agonise over the medium. We should be agnostic on the platform, but evangelical about the content.' It's the reading bit that's important, that's the thing. And you know where I read that? On my computer.

And plus, being the fresh owner of an e-reader meant Etsy was just begging me to find a sweet cover. Hooray!