Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Booking through Thursday

This week's question:
e-books... no no no no no. No. I can't say I never will read one, or that an e-book isn't a real book - but as long as there's a scrap of paper left on this earth... Sorry. Deep breath. Remember "the medium is the message"? WRONG. Change the medium, and you change the message.

Take audio books. I've come to like them, but not to believe that they are the same as a Real book. When I read a Real book, the characters come to life, or the information reveals itself, in my imagination or intellect, unfiltered. It's between me and the words. When I listen to an audio book, it's the same character, or the same information, but someone else's inflection factors in. Sometimes that's a good thing - maybe I catch more of the character's pacing or inflection, or maybe I learn how a word really is pronounced. Even so, part of the experience has been taken over by the reader, and by the technology.

How's this for an analogy? Give a child an old-fashioned doll, and she will create the doll's world: her name, her family, her identity. Give a child a character doll, or a talking doll, and the imaginative part of play will be reduced. It's still a doll, but the technology has changed the nature of play.

An e-book would contain the same words, information, plot - but staring into a screen, having to scroll back instead of ruffling pages to re-read a passage, not being able to take it into the bath tub -- no, it wouldn't be the same.

Believe me - I see the irony - instead of writing with a pen about my love of paper, I'm typing words onto a screen --

melanie

13 comments:

kat said...

Hmm, I never really thought about that irony there. Haha. I prefer "real" books myself. Nothing quite like the feel of holding it in your hands as you savor the story.

Imani said...

I'm not so averse to e-books, particularly short reads. They're also handy when I'm typing up a review and can simply pop a word in search and find what I'm looking for lickety split. But yeah, I do prefer paper most times.

Literary Feline said...

I love your answer! The analogy is perfect, especially in reference to audio books. They serve their purpose well, but it isn't the same as reading a "real" book.

Marianne Arkins said...

I'm not adverse to eBooks, but still prefer the real thing... I have friends being pubbed in eBook format first, but I always wait until their stuff comes out in print.

Mine's up, too!

Bridget said...

I figure that I stare at a computer screen practically all day, every day at work. And then read/check e-mail and blogs at home.

I enjoy reading something on a PAGE, in my lap, as a nice change!

meowminx said...

I enjoyed your BTT answers :)

Mine can be found here

Dorothy said...

I have to agree with the book in the hand. The printed word. I'm okay with audio books, but much prefer the real book. There's something romantic about holding a book, the way the paper feels, the smell of, its coziness. It's personal--a book. I do not like e-books for reading. Research, it's a necessity, but the pure joy of reading a book, has to be held. I'll always be for paper. Even when I write on the computer screen, I print it out. I see more of that way.

bookinhand said...

Love your answer and especially your analogy. For me, it's a comfort thing to have the book in my hand.

Athena said...

I've taken to audiobooks of late. I'm listening to one now: HP6. I like them mainly for the voice actor who does them (in this case, Stephen Fry). I also listened to the audiobooks for His Dark Materials since I've read them. Audiobooks are the only thing I can listen to while knitting as well so it's nice. Thanks for the visit.

Dewey said...

I'm with you on this. I can not do audio books. I like the idea. I've TRIED. I just can't concentrate and absorb the story. I haven't tried ebooks, but I don't know. I'm trying to read a book via email, serialized, and it's not working out too well, either. I think there's something in me that just connected with books when I was little and I need that format.

Melody said...

I enjoyed reading your post. Great answer! I haven't tried audio books yet, but I think I'd still prefer reading a physical book.
Happy BTT!

Chris said...

I never thought I'd have a blog either and now look at me! Never say never, I guess.

Melanie said...

I much prefer paper. The reading of a book is a tactile experience as much as anything else for me; the typeface, the kind of paper, the smell of the binding - it all adds to my experience of the book. Ebooks are only for emergencies, and even then, if I find a text online, I print it out (if it is short) to read it.