eBooks and Naysayers
Kindles, Kobos, Alurateks—whatever you think about dedicated eBook readers, or eReaders, they are here to stay. Surely, if you read as much as I do, the idea of owning a small lightweight device—like a Kindle—that can store thousands of books must sound incredibly appealing.
The romance of suffocating in a bedsit of mould-dappled books—piled high under your bed, under it, scattered over it—as far as I’m concerned is about as romantic as going to Butlins for your honeymoon—acceptable in the days of Jimmy Tarbuck perhaps, but surely not when you’ve the option of flying to Naples for little more than it costs to buy enough booze to find a red coat entertaining.
‘Dear girl,’ says the naysayer with tilted head and knotted brow, ‘aren’t you missing the point? It’s the experience of reading a physical book that I’m worried about, I’m quite anxious that it shouldn’t be lost forever’. Honest, I understand—it’s the smell, the weight in your hands, the feel of the paper between your forefinger and thumb—but reading an eBook is an experience too, just a different one, one you might quite enjoy if you were backpacking for two months or had a closet for a home.
You could even say that eBooks are a return to the roots of storytelling, to the height of the oral tradition when the story reigned, when it didn’t matter who told it; a good one could outlive generations, it could stretch over epochs and millennia, it wasn’t about the quality of the binding or the campaign behind it.
The eBook is already doing for literature what YouTube did for filmmaking, opening the field to new talents that might have been overlooked by play-it-safe publishing giants—successes include Amanda Hocking and Karen McQuestion, and there will be many more to come, you can count on it.
Having said all this, I must confess I don’t have a Kindle, and nor do have a Kobo or an Aluratek. I am far too busy suffocating under a heap of mould-dappled books.