miércoles, 23 de enero de 2013

Kindle vs paper (or rather, e-book vs paper?)

Recently a couple of friends and I got into a friendly (cough!) argument about the superiority of E-books vs Paper books. I've been in love with my Kindle  and lately with my Kindle for iPhone for a while now, but I'm also a lover of "real books" as they came  to be known during our discussion.

I've never denied the beauty of a well written book. Of a lovingly ilustrated, put together, wisely edited book. But during our chat it became aparent that form was shadowing  the content.

It all started almost in jest. One friend mentioned that e-books were great to read, but bad for intellectual ego: you could not impress people by whipping out a big book and reading it in public. We started stating pros and cons of both forms, going from the ease of carrying dozens of books in  one slim piece of technology to the romance of opening a book for the first time and enjoying the aroma of ink and paper. But then it degenerated into a free for all, with someone acusing us of "hating hipsters" and "demeaning hipsters" (noting a trend here...) and -my personal favorite - hating books. As in, the general notion of, not a particular book.Oh, and of being snobs.

I kept my opinions for myself from then on. How do you answer to such statements that come more from a visceral response to what is falsely perceived as an attack on the way they see themselves? I was holding my Kindle in my hands, thus I hated hipsters. How do you reason with that?

I love books. If you came to my house you would not be able to ignore that fact. There are several bookcases, almost one in every room except bathroom and kitchen (humidity and grease are no friends of books). While I have one set of the Harry Potter movies, I own several sets of the books in different languages, in hard cover and paper back. I don't think that makes me a "real book" hater if I happen to have over 1800 titles stored in my Kindle.

It makes me sad that people read for status or recognition alone. That they prefer paper books because it goes with their  image. The most common question I get when reading in my iPhone is "what are you playing?" followed by "chatting, uh?" I don't care. I read because I love it. I love it so much that it's what I do most. I'd rather read than play, rather read than dance, rather read than sing , and I am an avid singer, dancer and love playing! My girls when they want to play mommy they either cook or grab a book. That should tell you a lot.

If I could re-do that discussion, I'd rather start with "what genre do you prefer?", "which is your favourite author in that genre?" or "why do you read?"

Now those question I'd really love to hear their answers!!!

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