There are several epic battles that shall forever rage in the geek universe. Star Wars vs Star Trek? Xbox vs PS3? Mac vs Linux vs PC? All these are child’s play compared to the battle that is paper vs electronic books.
Amazon launched the Kindle in 2007 for $400. While it sold out quickly, it was easy to scoff at. “It’s so expensive.” “I could buy X paperbacks for that cost.” It was a hit with the tech elite, but the rest of us just rolled our eyes at yet another gadget. Amazon carried on though. Releasing Kindle after Kindle, each one better than the last and each one cheaper than the last. Then competitors started appearing. Barnes and Noble had their Nook. Borders sold the Kobo. It seemed like they were suddenly everywhere.
For a while, I rolled my eyes at the fancy eInk devices. The books were expensive (I can buy the paperback cheaper, and used), and it seemed wholly unnecessary. My husband was getting tired of the messy overflowing bookshelves though, and started suggesting that I “just go look at one.” So I did. And I fell in love. I can carry how many books with me? I can just buy them on the fly? I can just slide it easily in my purse? This is fantastic!
Even with the ubiquity these devices have now. I still get the hipster-esqe eye roll from people. “Sure it’d be convenient, but I prefer real books.” “I like the feel of something real in my hands.” This is all well and good. We all have our preferences. But we need to stop calling paper books “real” books, implying everything else is not real. You know what makes a book real? An author pouring their heart and soul into what they are putting on the page.
I feel eInk has made my generation more likely to read. We are used to getting things instantly, and with these devices we can download books like we do apps. On the fly and when we want. We can consume them in the same way, because these devices are easy to have with you at all times. The devices themselves aren’t even that important. Its the fact I can have a book on my Nook, the Nook app on my iPhone, and the Nook app on my iPad. No matter what device I have on me, I have a book. And they’re all on the same page, waiting to be picked up. Waiting at the doctors office? I can click on my phone and read a bit instead of beating yet another level of Angry Birds. That is the true revolution of these devices. That’s why when I make my way through the reading list Claire put together for me, I’ll buy the electronic versions even though she has the paper ones I could borrow.
Paper, eInk, or LED? It doesn’t matter. Just read.