When the printing press was invented books (and knowledge) became available en mass to the public at large and not just solely for the rich and entitled. As time moved forward, technology expanded accordingly. Now there are hundreds of stores both independent and chain devoted solely to the sale or resale of books. Books are everywhere, at grocery stores at gas stations; there aren’t many places to be found without at least one book. With the evolution of the digital age, books also began digitizing; making rare manuscripts and editions available via the internet to anyone willing to search. The Guttenberg project was the first, to make rare manuscripts and books available but certainly not the last. Amazon, Google, Apple and Barnes and Noble all have their own E reader app/tablet making the newest bestseller available at the touch of a button (and a wifi connection).
The Versatility of Ebooks
E-readers burst on the market in 2006, and quickly dominated. Ten years later, our phones, tablets, iPads and other digital devices all have apps that permit the downloading of Ebooks. Ebooks grant greater access to reading material without actually carrying around an assortment of books. Our perception of books is now changing thanks to E-readers. There are no pages to E-readers, they’re instead gauged by percentages. However, the term bookmark oddly remains the same in the digital vernacular. Highlights and notes no longer mar the margins of pages, they are now exportable to our blogs and emails – making our experience a sharable one. Our libraries are now mobile and versatile. The experience of reading is now entirely customizable; the size of text, and the font can be changed to fit the needs of the individual reader. Some Ebooks now come with soundtracks to make the experience all encompassing. One cannot deny the allure of the idea of an E-reading device.
This Christmas, my mother gave me a Kindle Fire. Now, I’ve previously talked about my hesitation in getting my child a Kindle, which he lovingly refers to as his iPad. But what I didn’t say, is that I had one a few years ago, it broke and I never really noticed it was gone. I supplemented with the library and print books, and kept my mind moving. I read voraciously and I’m rarely seen without a book in hand, but the E-reader didn’t cause a great flux of reading in either direction. Nonetheless, I was stoked to have received my own E-reader device in the Kindle Fire.
As I ripped the paper and the identifiable Kindle logo became visible, I felt some excitement. The first thing I noticed, once I was past the packaging, was that the Kindle came charged. I know this is a little thing, but I was already impressed. Once I put the Kindle on my Wifi, it automatically synced to my old Kindle. All the books I thought lost to the cloud are now firmly back within my grasp. It would take a few hours to put all the books back on my Kindle, but it was well worth the wait. Immediately, I was off in the E-store picking out new Ebooks. I also quickly discovered my local library has an expansive Ebook collection which I can also lend from, my excitement grew like the Grinch’s heart. My post holiday wallet may be light, but it will be well read. Only a week has past and I haven’t picked up a print book, and that’s a big statement.
The one thing I personally find lacking in the Ebook experience is the smell. Ebooks cannot replicate the smell of fresh/stale ink on fresh/old pages. Old books have a certain funk to them that is irreplaceable. In this sentiment I am apparently not alone. In 2015, the print book sold more than the Ebook for the first time in years. I also find myself saying ‘real books’ as though the Ebooks aren’t a tangible purchased item. Though, I know it is – I’m just being difficult. Over all, I’d say for the everyday reader, not for first editions or collectors items. The Kindle is both user friendly and useful for all ages, not just my six year old.