The joy of books

The joy of books
The joy of books

I was asked on Twitter recently if I preferred reading electronic books on a Kindle for instance, or “real” paper books. I seemed to be the lone voice defending the modern ebook. The general consensus of opinion was that real books are the best and electronic books are a pale imitation.

For me the distinction is not quite so clear cut. Above all, story, narrative, or content are king. A poor book is a poor book regardless of the format. A great book is a wonderful thing on tree based paper or via electronic ink or photons. The important thing is what the author is telling you. The delivery medium is secondary. Having said that …

I travel a lot for work. I spend a lot of time on trains or waiting for them. I like to read a novel on the journey. I have photography books to try and learn from. I have plenty reference books for work (the paid work, not photography). I really can’t take two novels, a book about lighting and another on composition, and five or six books on different programming languages and database administration. This isn’t possible, or at least wasn’t until I invested in a Kindle. Now I can take all of the books and more with me, and they all fit in my pocket. I also have access to the very same books on a laptop, desktop PC or a tablet should I need. This, in my opinion, is a wonderful thing and it fills me with joy.

Nono of this means that I don’t enjoy the “old fashioned” books. I have a large collection of paper books. I often visit charity shops looking for titles I’ve not yet read. I received two new books in the post today, with a third expected too. I love “real” books; I love electronic books. So, when asked “Book or Kindle”, my answer is both.

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