I see that Amazon has launched the sale of it’s Kindle e-reader, here in the UK, although, such is the demand, that actually getting hold of one, may prove to be something of a feat.
The on-line giant has also added between 200,000 and 4oo,ooo new titles to it’s UK Kindle Store, (depending on which report you read!), although some critics have questioned why the price of some of the Kindle books, are the same as the printed version.
Whilst the e-reader may have a perfectly valid appeal in some scenario’s, to me, it will never take the place of a traditional printed book.
Yes, an e-reader may be light and easy to pack, perfect for a trip where luggage weight is an issue; you may have hundreds of thousands of titles at your fingertips and just a click away; and for students, the convenience of having that tome of a textbook taken away from you, has unquestionably obvious advantages.
For me though, an e-reader will never be able to replicate the feel and smell of a book, or being able to browse the shelves of a bookshop and handle the merchandise.
Would you take the risk of drowning your e-reader in the bath or pool? Sand blasting it on the beach? Or, heaven forbid, dropping it from a great height onto a hard surface?
At least with a book, the most damage you can do to it, is to curl or stain a few pages, have to dry it off occasionally, or most drastically, break it’s spine. Whilst this doesn’t make for a great looking book, it is hardly ever left fatally wounded and unreadable and can be replaced for the cost of a few pounds.
If you succumb to the e-reader club, just think of all those lost opportunities to pass on your latest great read to friends and family; make your donation to you local hospital, library or charity; set your book free on ‘Book Crossing’; or exchange it on a ‘Read It Swap It’ site, for the relatively inexpensive cost of postage.
There has to be room for both e-readers and traditional books in this world, so let’s not allow the one, to overpower the other and force us all, some of us unwillingly, down the road to being enforced technophiliacs!!