7 Things I don't like about ebooks

Thursday, September 6, 2012

To be fair, I do quite like ebooks. I think they can peacefully coexist with real books. The stories are the most important part. Format doesn't matter much at all. Ereaders are compact, convenient, marvellous contraptions. (Perhaps I will write about my thoughts further in a later post.) But! There are some things about ebooks that I don't particularly like. On the inside, I am an elderly person, deeply suspicious of all new technology. And physical books, while sometimes bulky and inconvenient, are pretty and nice to hold. And they might give you a papercut, which adds a touch of danger and suspense. I mean, what an experience! These are the things that make ebooks untrustworthy:
  1. You can't properly lend them to people. Lending books to people is at least in my top ten favourite book-related activities. Emailing someone a file or beaming it over the cloud or whatever it is the kids are doing these days is just not the same.
  2. They don't smell good. Are they manufacturing Kindles with synthetic 'old book smell' yet? They should. They should have multiple buttons you can press for various scents (new book smell, old book smell... okay, that's it).
  3. You can't get them signed by authors. I suppose you could get your ereader signed, but you could only fit a couple of signatures.
  4. You can't read them in the bath. Maybe you can. I don't know. I would be terrified of dropping the ereader, and dying. How stupid would you seem if that was put in the paper? Think of the puns they might use. 'Dead-keen Reader, 18, Electrocuted in bath by dropping Kindle'. Oh, the shame. Of course, you're dead! You don't mind.
  5. You can't tell which books are your favourite ones. There is something very nice about a well-thumbed book. If you really, really love a book, you have to get it in hard copy, so you can keep it under your pillow and lend it to people and carry it around in your bag in case you find yourself in a situation wherein you must quote from it. And then it gets properly battered and you can tell it's an important book. You can't do that with an ereader.
  6. Other people can't tell what you're reading. I suppose this may be a good thing, for instance if you are reading Fifty Shades of Grey or Twilight. But it's such fun to judge other people based on what book they are reading on public transport! Don't take all the enjoyment out of my life, guys.
  7. You can't write in the margins, can't fold down the corners, can't take to it with a highlighter. I am sure there are fake highlighter functions on ereaders, fake being the operative word! Authenticity, guys! That's what it's all about. Maybe if you don't enjoy wrecking your books, you will not be missing out on much. But wrecking your books means you love them! If they sit, pristine, on a shelf their entire lives, they're going to feel unloved. Haven't you seen Toy Story? It's the exact same with books. They come alive and dance around and chat with each other when you leave the room. This is a fact.
Do you own an ereader? What do you like/not like about ebooks?

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