I like books. I don’t mean e-books, I mean physical books, paper books.
Oh, sure, I read stuff on line all the time. I publish stuff on line, and I have no particular problem with the internet as a way of disseminating fiction. But I still prefer books, which is, I realize, rather old-fashioned of me. We cut down trees to make paper. Probably most of the inks are not vegetable-based or eco-friendly. There’s also the whole remaindered-book industry, which means that a lot of those books aren’t really in demand. For cost-effectiveness and resource conservation, e-books are probably better.
None of this makes a difference; the heart has its reasons, which reason knows not of, as Blaise Pascal wrote. I’m afraid that I’m in love with books, and there’s nothing to be done about it.
Some of my favourite books will never be available on line, or as e-books. Most of my library will probably never make that jump. Even if my whole library were put on the internet, and were available free for me to browse, I would still prefer books. Some time ago I made a little list of ten reasons that books are better than the internet. For your amusement, then, if nothing else, here they are.
1- You can read a book in bed, or in the bathtub.
2- A book works even when the power is out.
3 – If the power fails, your bookmarks won’t disappear.
4 – Pictures don’t take ten minutes to download.
5 – If you drop a book, it will still work.
6 – A book will never give you a “page not found” message.
7 – A book doesn’t short out if you spill your coffee on it.
8 – You can open a book without risking a virus.
9 – You can borrow, lend, give away or re-sell a book without legal repercussions. You can even buy used ones and know they will still work just as well as when they were new.
10 – The technology to use a book will never become obsolete.
I’m not going to swear that I’ll never acquire an e-book reader, but I can’t see it in my future yet. There will always be people like me, people who like, even prefer, old things, old technologies. I think we’re rather good for progress; we slow it down a bit, perhaps prevent it from tossing out the baby with the bathwater in the rush for all things new and shiny.
There’s room for both e-books and tree-books, I believe. I see no reason why either should have to go the way of the dodo.