Kindle vs. Books

I don't know about you, but there is something about opening a freshly printed magazine, its pages still loosely stuck together, that gives me a real sense of satisfaction. The smell of the ink, the uncreased pages and the glossy front cover all provide a pleasure that can only be compared to a steaming hot chocolate on a winter’s night (wow, that was some rather cheesy Gouda right there). The same goes for novels – the smell of a book to me is what freshly baked cookies are to Mary Berry; delightful. When I see a book that’s been poorly treated, I feel the need to take it into my chest and embrace it as if it was an abused animal. Why would someone curl your corners or highlight phrases, you poor paperback?

(Note: if you crease the binder of a book I lend you, we are no longer friends.)

This is all slight exaggeration of course. Yet as much as it pains me to say, print is in decline due to the growing industry of digital media. More and more people are picking up laptops instead of magazines to scour websites for tips on fashion, hair and how to achieve the big 'O'. E-readers, tablets and even phones are replacing books, and libraries are now emptier than pubs on a Monday morning (excluding the old codger in the corner having an early pint). Nowadays, teenagers would rather read a poorly written article on a gossip website than settle down with a printed copy of Jane Eyre or Nineteen Eighty-Four. It’s tragic; though I have to admit, I’m not blameless. There was a time when I was studying Bram Stoker’s Dracula and had no access to the novel, which resulted in reading it on my iPhone at around 3am – both my dignity and my eyesight suffered greatly.

When the Kindle first arrived on the market, I was very apprehensive and almost offended. How can a piece of technology the size of clutch bag replace the feel of a real, authentic book? The answer was of course, it couldn’t. However, this new development allowed bookworms to store over 2,000 books in such a small device, and for people whose bookshelves are covered in softie toys and perfumes *ahem*, the Kindle was ultimately a great convenience. For me, it was disappointing, and reminded me that a day may come when books are no longer needed in our society.

Then Christmas came, and a box-shaped present addressed to me appeared under the tree. I felt, smelt and shook it, expecting it to be a decoy; it was probably a really nice dress or bag folded inside a box. It wasn’t. I opened it, and a Kindle Fire HD was born into my life. It was to be expected – my books clutter up not only my room but Nat’s also, and I’m always moaning about how I have no shelf space. Shockingly, I was genuinely happy. It was a gadget, and I love me a bit of technology. Yet, instead of logging into the bookstore, I spent the rest of the evening watching The Vampire Diaries on Netflix.

The more I played with it, the more it appealed to me. I could read at night without a light, it wasn’t heavy and fit into my bag, and I could now hold a solid collection of books all in one place. It finally dawned on me what all the fuss was about; this contraption was genuinely quite useful. Yet somehow I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing; the look and feel of the screen just didn’t feel the same as smooth printed pages in my hands. Books are from your childhood, they are the things you read under your covers after the lights are out, or accompany you on long family trips. A Kindle can’t even remotely resemble a signed copy of ‘The Illustrated Mum’ by Jacqueline Wilson or a beautiful Mario Testino editorial that can be stuck on your wall and admired. It just doesn’t seem authentic to me.  

Nowadays, my Kindle rests on the desk and is used mostly for movies and browsing the internet. I have a few novels downloaded including Life of Pi, Nira/Sussa and Pride and Prejudice, but my most beloved books are all pure real paperbacks. Somehow, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to move onto digital whole-hearted; my soul will always belong to squishy, genuine books.



  1. I appreciate what you are saying here, and agree with it to an extent, but, you know, life moves on, and times are changing.
    I have my shelves full of books, and I also have not one, but TWO Kindles. I have the old, keyboard Kindle, and the Kindle Fire HD. Like you, I uase the Fire for streaming Netflix, I also browse the web, social network, etc, but I also use it for reading graphic novels. The screen displays them beautifully, although, I admit, I would prefer to have the real thing, but space in our house is a big issue there.
    I still use my older Kindle for reading novels, and I still read paper books too.
    I think the choice between digital or paper comes down to a personal taste, a physical sensation of texture, smell, weight, shape, etc. Every paper book has its own individual feel and identity. Every book on your Kindle is exactly like every other book on your Kindle, in terms of its weight, shape, texture, etc.
    It is the content of the book though, that remains the same, whether the delivery of that content is via analogue or digital means.
    As long as I have a way of reading new work, and as long as people keep reading, I don't mind too much if it's done via paper or ebooks.

    1. I very much agree with you in that sense, the content indeed stays the same no matter what the medium. I guess technology has to move forward, it's just a bit sad sometimes.

  2. Damn! Reading through this, I was like "is she pretty much reading my mind?" You said it exactly the way I would have, except probably better. As you know, my mom gave me the Nook my uncle gave her, and honestly it's been a lifesaver. Since I've been getting back to reading more books, I realized I don't have the ready cash or shelf space to store them. So storing several books on one tiny easy-on-the-eyes device is kind of a godsend.

    However, I absolutely adore holding genuine books in my hands, flipping the pages and using bookmarks. Something about that experience can never be replaced. When I move away from Lebanon and settle into my own place, there is no freaking way I'm living without my own library. It's a *must*.

    (Great photos too, by the way!!)

    1. Haha, I'm glad my silly random thoughts can relate to someone at least :)
      A personal library sounds like an amazing idea - I was thinking the same, a whole room dedicated to just books? Sounds like heaven! x


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