I’ll start with a defensive-sounding disclaimer: I love me some books. I love me some old school books. By way of evidence (also somewhat defensively) I offer this snap of my recent haul. Long story, but most of these books were headed for the dumpster. Now they’re mine. I stand over hauls like this and rub my hands together, greedily.
Or there’s this snap, of my favorite of my many bookshelves. I call these the ancients. They’re no one’s idea of an antiquarian treasure trove, but I treasure them nonetheless. No, I haven’t read them all (some of them are delicate enough that I dasn’t read them). Some of them are also rescues. I won’t pretend I rescue any book for altruistic purposes. I get them, keep them, chortle and obsess over them, because I like having them around.
Okay, one more. This is certainly one of my lesser-stocked shelves, alas. Still one of my favorites. My example of what the incomparable Kameron Hurley awesomely dubbed, The Ego Shelf.
That lengthy disclaimer comes because as the title suggests, I love my Kindle. But some barricades got thrown up in the earliest e-book days, a division between readers of e-books, and the bibliophiles who renounce them. All these years on, there’s some daylight breaking through in those barricades. We’re not quite so neatly divided into two camps anymore. But still, proclaim loudly enough your love for a Kindle (or Nook, or whathaveyou), there are going to be some people asking what you have against Real Books.
Clearly I have nothing against Real Books. Clearly I live for All Books, paper as well as electron.
But the reason I love my Kindle is because it can do something that our bound leaves cannot. Man, if only they could.
See there? Just touch the screen, select some text, and get a dictionary definition. Such a simple feature, processor power-wise. As far as I know all the big-brand readers offer similar functionality. Back in the early design stages, it was probably thrown in almost as an afterthought.
But come on. How many times, as you’re reading, do you come across a word you don’t know? And how many times do you bother to look it up?
Nope. You just trust yourself to guesstimate the meaning from the context. Don’t you?
I’ve been in both camps, bibliophilic and e-read aficionado, for a couple years now. My consumption of both types of books, on average, is probably about equal.
But I gotta admit, when I’m reading a traditional book and the author presents me with an opportunity to broaden my vocabulary, I find myself tapping the page, wondering why the hell the text isn’t lighting up.