The Kindle, the E-Book, the Tablet, the anything-you-can-read-a-book-on-that’s-digital. Is it good or bad?

Our generation has been lampooned with various technological advancements. I can still remember having a phone purely for emergencies – a small, brick-like device with the ever entertaining Snake, just around eleven years ago (give or take). Compare that with what I have now, an iPhone 5 (which isn’t even the latest model), with impressive apps ranging from the infamous Flappy Birds to taxi apps; now there’s no need for communication – just click a button and you’re sorted! But that’s not my point, my point is, we’ve seen a lot in a short space of time – phones, computers, robot dogs, even digitalised books…

Wait – what?

If you had told me a few years ago we’d be reading our favourite novels from a compact, slim and impressive device, I might have laughed – just as I might have laughed if you’d given me and iPhone with the ability to chuck angry birds at pigs.

Like I mentioned, taxi companies now operate with apps on smartphones, so you can avoid a lot of verbal communication if you want. You’re good to go at the click of a button. Now, you may roll your eyes and think this sounds a tad pretentious (the concept did cross my mind briefly) but the concept remains absolute truth. Being part of the technology generation, I much prefer the old fashioned way of doing things.

Now I turn to the E-Book, the Kindles, the E-Readers. My Grandmother – bless her – is completely set in her ways, ‘I’ll never get one – not ever – certainly wouldn’t thank someone if they got one for me as a Christmas present!’ Now she’s a wise woman (believe it or not) and usually she’s stubborn, so when she said that I knew it would be written in permanent ink, not pencil.

Naturally, months later, there she is, struggling slightly to work ‘the darn thing’, but nevertheless, she’s having the time of her life uploading all her Ken Follett and Donna Tart novels. And I thought, if she can turn to the dark side, everyone can…

Now I say ‘dark side’ in jest. I think there are pros and cons to this kind of technology. We’ve got to consider the accessibility of the E-Book, you’ve got to consider that it’s incredibly handy for a holiday. Imagine: you have your baggage limit and you have a mountain of clothes you purchased when you had holiday fever; what about that book you’d love to read on the plane? If it’s a long flight, you might need more than one, depending on your own circumstances. And what about when you’re soaking up the sun? That’s what most Brits go on holiday for. So yes, we will sit in it for hours (avoiding sun burn, of course) with nothing else but a good book to read in the duration. Maybe two? Maybe three? At this point, that Kindle is looking rather tempting.

And then there’s the physicality of books. The holding of a novel. I’ll never forget that proud feeling I got when I finished reading the lengthy Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Strikingly mountainous novels make you feel years older after turning that last page. And as an aspiring writer, there would be no better feeling than holding that book in the flesh. Looking through it from cover to cover.

I could live in a world where both these mediums of readings exist together in harmony, but if the E-book ever takes over in the masses, I’d find it difficult to comply with that. That’s the definition of dystopia for me.

People constantly worry about children and their reading. If a child is more attracted to an E-reader, then that’s a success for all type of reading, does it really matter how the book is read? All that matters is that the book is read in some form. So if you think about it in terms of the context of this article, it’s the best of both worlds!$ And it really does diminish all I’ve been rambling about for the past 800 words or so…

I always think of vinyl players in this situation. Clunky, spacious vinyl discs, naturally, they would be replaced: CDs, MP3 players, online streaming, the list is endless. But, you can find vinyl records everywhere these days. As they come back into fashion, maybe the same novelty will be true for books. But of course, reading and novels should never become a novelty.



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