By Amrita Singh:
TV replaced radios, long walks with friends were substituted with solitary ones on treadmills, face to face conversations were replaced with chatting on Facebook. Technology has always fed off our need for advancement – no matter how much you enjoy your iPhone 6, you will replace it with an iPhone 7 if you have the means to do so. Hungry for ‘the new and the better’, this is just how we are wired.
But there has been one peculiar exception to this rule and that is with books. E-books were first released in 2011 and have definitely gained popularity but even so, I see people with traditional books everywhere.
To take the pulse of the readers and understand whether they prefer reading e-books or the ‘real deal’, I did a little Sherlock Holmes stint – by which I mean pestered readers on all social media platforms – and here’s what I found out.
“The typical smell of a book, picking out suitable bookmarks for every book you own, writing the date and place of the purchase on each book – there’s no amount of convenience that can give me as much pleasure as the experience of reading a real book does.”
– Ashish Bedi, avid reader
“Words come to life only when they are read off of the old and dusted pages of a book. The way you turn the pages in anticipation of where the story will take you next is akin to the pleasures of poetry. It cannot be experienced otherwise.”
– Naomi Hazarika, political science student at JNU
“I’m a big fan of real, raw books, but I can’t blatantly disregard how E-books have revolutionized reading. We all love the enchanting smell of an old book, but do you want to read it or smell it? With an E-book, I don’t have to bother bookmarking it or search desperately for a tiny source of light at night when I can’t turn the lights on.”
– Ameya, an active blogger
“We’ve moved past the age of carrying 600 pages in our bags for entertainment purposes. At the end of the day, it’s about adaptability.”
– Kanak Kataria, 2nd-year student of Psychology
“You know the feeling you get when you arrange new books on your bookshelf, stand back for a few moments and gaze lovingly at your most prized possessions? Yeah. Never got that feeling after downloading a book.”
– Shimona Agarwal, class 12 student
“I much prefer the real thing. But I am willing to make the switch, to save trees. Also, better royalties.”
– Anuja Chauhan, author of ‘The Zoya Factor’, ‘Those Pricey Thakur Girls’ and more
“I am a paper book romantic to the core, yet as a reader I find e-books easy on the pocket and while on the move. As a writer, I believe an e-book is like a Genie for anyone who wants to be published; I understand that e-books are here for good, and that they [are] perfect for any storyteller, writer or not.”
– Himani Rawat Nayal, Author of ‘She Was‘
“I think books should be read in any and every form – whether it’s an electronic or a physical copy. To me, it’s the content of the book that matters, not the form.”
– Rohini Banerjee, features writer, Youth Ki Awaaz and Cake
“I love books because they are traditional and smell wonderful but the convenience of e-books can’t be denied. I used to lug around three books around at all times. Finally, it is the story and the words that do it for me, not the medium.”
– Madhura Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D. student in Paris
Electronic screens haven’t defeated the smell of new books and the sound of flipping pages just yet. In today’s day and age, whether you are a designer, an engineer or a writer, you have to be glued to a screen 24×7 and that’s probably why a larger section isn’t ready to let go of traditional books just yet. Now, no matter which side the readers’ ultimately advocated for, most of them started by expressing their love for real books. That just shows that traditional books might fade away someday, but e-books will always remain a substitute of real books, and present-day readers will get to enjoy the advantages of both the mediums!