Reverence for the printed page
I have a great reverence for books.
I will not defile a book with marking it up. I will not highlight, underline, circle, or scribble in the margins. I treat a book as a sacred collection of thoughts painstakingly assembled by its author. In a recent conversation with a friend1 we discussed our love for eBook.
Me: I love Audible. I love Kindle too. SO MANY BOOKS!
R: And this coming from a guy who told me he didn’t read anymore!
Me: Kindle changed all that. True Story: My dad gave me a book to read and review. I couldn’t. I bought the kindle book and am halfway through.
R: You know, I have an actual library. I mean, probably close to, if not over, 1000 books. And I prefer the Kindle too.
Along with our love of the electronic book, we also share a reverence for the printed page.
Me: My dad has a library in his house. I want to have a library one day. I still love the sight, touch and feel of the physical book. But the benefits of eBooks are too much. I also have a certain reverence for the printed page. I will not defile it with highlighter, or pen/pencil marks. eBooks mean I can highlight without lasting marks.2
R: No, you’re not weird, you’re RIGHT. I HATE people who defile books. I won’t even fold the page down to mark my place.
I love the ability to highlight and make notes on Kindle books. I can mark up the book without a permanent smudge on the book itself. In addition, I can also see popular highlights throughout the book if I choose. I can read a book for review, mark it all up, and in the end, the book remains exactly as I received it. A pristine book, ready for the next person to enjoy, or me to re-read.
The Kindle app for the iPad has reignited my love of reading. According to GoodReads I have completed 15 books so far this year. That is more books than I’ve read in any single year since I graduated college in 2004.
The Kindle app is so amazing because in addition to allowing me to mark up a book without the permanence, it opens whole new worlds through the printed pages. In an instant, I can buy and start reading nearly any book my heart desires. For each of those books I can tweak the font size to make it easier to read through sleepier eyes. As flexible as physical books are, the fact remains I may not have the book with me.
If I leave my book at home I will not be able to read it at work or on the train. However, with Kindle books, I can read on my iPad, iPhone, or any computer within arm’s reach. I mainly read on my iPad or iPhone. The phone is an ideal reading device for a crowded subway car or those moments when I am waiting in lines.
I constantly have my phone or another electronic device on or near me so reading electronically is never a problem. The Kindle’s syncing and ubiquity stack up well against the pros of physical books without many of the cons.3 In addition, they do not need a large amount of space in my home to keep.
One day, when I have a house to call my own and I’ve given up the nomadic lifestyle of apartment living I will have a library. I will collect the great books I have read to fill the shelves. Who knows, I may even prefer reading on paper again by then. I want to have the quiet, comfortable room surrounded with the tomes I’ve spent my life reading and learning from.
But until then, I prefer the portability of Kindle and an endless library I can pick up and move once the lease ends.