The Way We Read

I went to a wayward bookstore today. It felt really good, just seeing the books stacked up. I stopped buying books for a long time now.   There are big piles of unread books, which I want to read at home.

It occurred to me that the reason I don’t go to bookstores anymore is because I just order whatever I need online.  The books do take their own time coming, but I am not in a hurry. This way I also save money from buying everything that I don’t read.

I have been thinking for sometime now that reading as a habit is going to change. The kindle will change it sooner or later. The kindle is not just easy on the eyes to read but the lightest manner possible of carrying over a hundred books and periodicals. You can virtually carry your entire library with you.

I first read about the Kindle being launched with an India compatible version sometime in October 2009. I was so thrilled. I had no idea what e-ink technology was but I just knew it would better than reading on the computer. Everything about the Kindle was fascinating. The fact that – as you read you could get word meanings; you could highlight important passages and also make notes.  The biggest disadvantage with the Kindle was that you need external light to read it. But, the silver lining is that when the external light is not available the book can be read to you.

Clearly the kindle is a more eco-friendly way of reading books. But it would take a huge paradigm shift to move entirely to the kindle. As human beings, we find it difficult to break away from the way of life we are used, to break away from tradition. I wouldn’t say the Kindle today can entirely replace books. Definitely as gadgets go, it is just one gadget and therefore cannot be shared or preserved the way we can regular books. But the time has come to go paperless. The time has come to save the trees.

Are we willing to make this small investment? Are we willing to move away from a tradition and take to this new form of reading? As a person who loves the feel of new books, old books, the feel of paper whether original or pirated, I am willing to change – though just not as yet.

3 thoughts on “The Way We Read”

  1. Hey archana, I completely agree with you.. Although I ve never used a kindle, I read books on the iPad and I’m gradually beginning to prefer it since I can virtually carry, like you said, my entire library with me and read books suiting my mood at varies points in a day/week.
    Having said ghat, again, as a person who loves the feel and smell (!) oof books, the change is incomplete and still nascent.

    1. Yes. I think the change will take time to set it. Right now, the IPad and the Kindle are great travel buddies, but when at home I still want the feel of my book.

  2. The closest to a real reading experience is definitely the Kindle. The e-ink technology without the back-light makes it possible. Also, it is the only gadget that is being seriously developed as a reading device per se. Ipads and the others have reading incidentally.

    Having used Kindle for over a year now, I must confess that I still miss the books. I like reading a regular book much more than on the kindle. I often tell people I like reading and I love books. It is generally understood to be the same thing but is not. The feel of a book, the cover design, the font choices – everything makes it a unique experience. I doubt it can be replaced. Things like Kindle make it convenient to travel light. Beyond that, in the regular world, books rule.

    BTW, you will see why books still rule very soon. Be ready for a surprise!

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