The Paper Book is Dead, Long Live the E-book!

“The paper book is dead, long live the e-book!”

Home is where my books are, I always said. I’ve been the most avid book reader and buyer. Books have accompanied me everywhere, they have been my friends, my sanity, my comfort, my safe harbor. I owe more to books than to anything else. They are an integral part of me. I love to page thru them, the sound of turning a page, the smell of paper and ink, the slight cracking of the spine of a new book, the feeling of holding a weighty tome. I don’t remember my life before I could read and I’ve slept with books since I was four.

As much as I cherish my 3500+ books surrounding me in my den, I have surrendered. Since I got my iPad, I haven’t bought one book. As of today, I carry 47 books with me around the World in my iPad and the number is growing. Undoubtedly, for a globetrotter like me, the e-book is a gift from the gods. Packing my backpack, I will have no more the dilemma of choosing which books to take with me and which ones to leave back home (and miss later on). Gone are the days of heavy bags full of new book acquisitions. My backpack is amazingly light now.

And yet, I miss them, the books. I miss them terribly, I have daily withdrawal symptoms. My hands search desperately for that comforting feeling of printed and bound paper. I could fall asleep with my iPad on my chest, but it’s not the same as letting the book, like a safety blanket, gently rest on my breast as I close my eyes and depart to dreamland.

For all the advantages of the e-book, I will never dispose of my books. Like testimonials of a time past, reminders of an overwhelming present and admonitions of a future to come, they will stay with me until my eyes close and I depart once more, this time on a one-way ticket to another kind of dreamland, I suppose, of which I know nothing. My books, though, will survive me and the iPad—like papery ghosts they will alert the consciousness of all readers, like and ode to life, they will inspire generations to come.

It is with a bleeding heart and shaky voice that today I pronounce the words “The paper book is dead, long live the e-book!”

Keep reading, life is an open and unread book!


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3 comments on “The Paper Book is Dead, Long Live the E-book!

  1. When I start a book I start a conversation with the author. I cannot imagine doing that with an IPAD. Reading, coming back to precedent pages, to me listening to the noise of the pages brushing against each other, is like poetry untold. My books are my friends, my family my solace. Whenever I need reference, knowledge or plunging back into the past to feel a memory again, to listen to the music of words, I can go in “the room” and spend time there. Pulling out a book, reading a few poems, listening to the sounds of the language inside my soul.

    Can you do that with an IPAD? It will never be as when you have rows of books in front of your eyes and you browse, pulling out a book or pushing it back to go to another because of the stirred memory. And as you said, they will survive testament to beings now disappeared, part of their identity, keepers of history.

  2. I like this movie, it is very funny. It made me think back to the book, to read, to feel the paper and the stories in the book, the experience of the subject that I read. Nowadays, with modern technology I read the book online rather than reading from a real book. But I feel the difference. When I read online I just read it passively. I do not remember what I read. But reading the book I feel like I remember I had a very nice time and fun to read.

    I don’t mind reading online or from book because I get knowledge but the feeling is different.


  3. Thanks for your comments. You’re so right Marie-France, but I think it’s all a cultural thing at the personal level. We got the ‘book-bug’ at one time and I guess we’ll never get rid of it, but we might be an ‘endangered group’ as much as the wolf is an ‘endangered species.’

    Yes, Parichart, the feeling is different. Carrying the book for a time while you read it creates associations and memories. Also, a book is ‘that’ book. My iPad is not ‘a’ book, it’s many books and other things. Silly as it is, I’ve once carried a book around with me, much after I had finished reading it. I just didn’t want to let it go.



    PS–Sorry for the quotation marks, but this comments editor doesn’t allow me to use italics.

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