When Red Dust was first published, back in 2009, eBooks weren’t a big thing.
At that point, the publishing world was sitting on the edge of a cliff. Overseas had started to make noises about eBooks, which in turn needed a device to be able to read them on. The Kindle and many other types of electronic readers were born.
These days, with the invention of iTunes, Amazon and any other store you can buy digital books from, it’s common place to see people reading off an eReader. I’m not sure if eBooks have outsold print books in Australia yet, within a year, but they certainly have overseas.
As an author, I often get asked which do I prefer.
It’s pretty easy. The good old book.
There is something mystical about going into a book shop and browsing the shelves. Sometimes I find gold – a new author who will become one of my favourites. It’s relaxing and peaceful. A bit like entering Enid Blyton’s Enchanted Forest and heading to the Faraway Tree to which land is at the top. You never know what you’ll find.
A book has a comforting weight. It has a certain smell and it creaks when you open the cover for the first time. Battered, well worn copies are like old friends – they have personality and warmth. You can feel safe in amongst the pages.
I also think that having my favourite authors on the shelf can tell people about me, or about them. A bookshelf is always a great talking point when you have visitors over. It’s like having my favourite photo of my kids displayed on the wall. I display my favourite books.
To me, I get more involved in the story if I’m turning pages. I can’t describe what makes me feel like this, but I am more entrenched within the story, if I’m holding book, than what I am if I’m reading on a screen. I don’t even edit my own books on screen – I print the pages out.
But, all of the above is just how I feel. Not how anyone else should feel.
Now I have to admit, I don’t own an eReader. I have downloaded the Kindle ap onto my iPhone and yes, I have read some books on it.
But I only ever seem to download the books I want to have a quick look at, but never want to keep.
My sister-in-law swears by her Kindle. She couldn’t afford to buy all the books she reads, in a week and she wouldn’t have the room to keep them all.
Yep, I get that argument too. Especially since I’ve just done “two rounds” with The Boss, trying to get him to understand why I need a fifth bookshelf.
And I understand the argument about taking heaps of books with you in one small, compact vessel. Especially travelling. My mum told me she wouldn’t take Purple Roads on the jet when she flew to China, because it was too big. Yes, I’m nodding my head. Agreeing.
I know there is a place for both the book and the eReader. There are probably millions of people who prefer to read on an eReader. But I still prefer books and that’s just the way it is.
To a point, I wonder if it matters? If people are reading, does it really matter how they are doing it, just so long as they are?
How do you prefer to read? And why?