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Recently I went on a holiday and decided not to take any
electronic devices except the phone with me. This meant I had to actually take
a ‘paper’ book. Of course by the second day, I was roaming for another.
As luck would have it, I found an
old favourite at a corner store that had a shelf of preloved books for tourists, just like me.
Inside the front cover of this book, was a large sticker explaining I had found a Wandering Book. There was a website for me to visit and if I entered a code displayed in the book, I would discover where the
book had been.
I couldn’t resist.
The book was originally left on
top of an ATM in Canberra in 2008. Picked up by someone who then left it in
North Queensland, and eventually found by me in 2016 in a little corner store
on an Island.
So what had happened in the
preceding 8 years it took for me to explore the website? How many people read this book? How many different nationalities?
And it had me thinking about the differences between a 'paper' book and an eBook.
EBooks are here to stay. There is no doubt of that and 'paper' books are slowly becoming a thing
of the past.
In my opinion, this trend is ‘short changing’ writers and readers.
Once I have an eBook on my
reading device, it’s mine. But only to a point. I may be able to download it
onto a stick, if the programming permits. Otherwise, it is stored in the Cloud,
until I retrieve it.Until that is,
your device breaks, or you forget your email address, or password. And all
those questions you fill out when starting a new email address and password in case
you lose them, don’t always work.
My reading device broke. And now my books are swimming in the Cloud, like lost souls and I can’t
retrieve them. And all because the email and password retrieval options won’t
let me answer all those questions I had to fill out in the first place. So those books are now dead to me, unless I purchase them again.
Yes, eBooks are versatile, but have
you ever tried to read an eBook on a beach without worrying about it getting
sand on it or getting wet? Have you ever tried to read an eBook while relaxing
in a tub? And what happens when there is no power to recharge the reader?
I get it that readers are
portable, less bulky, and books can be purchased anytime, anywhere etc.
And they are a great tool for
first time authors to break into the world of publishing.
So imagine it if you will, what
happens to all those books when the technology changes?Think this won’t happen? Remember floppy
disks and microfilm? The technology is no longer available. It’s been replaced.
At least with a ‘paper’ book, it
doesn’t matter if it gets wet, it will dry out. It doesn’t matter if it gets
sand in it, shake it out. No power? Read by candle light.
I find a certain satisfaction in
holding a book in my hand and feeling the texture of paper as I turn a page. I
love visiting second hand book stores and finding forgotten favourites and
discovering new ones. You can feel a sense of history in a book.
Can you leave an eBook at a
second hand book store? Can you give an eBook as a gift? And some eBooks are
almost expensive as 'paper' books.
Like all technology, there are
pros and cons. And I will admit, reading an eBook in bed is a lot easier than actually
holding a book and turning pages.
But with an eBook, there are no
'wanderings', no hidden history or surprises in the turn of a page.And sorry you can’t squash a cockroach with a
reader without serious consequences.
I guess it’s official -
I'm old enough to reminisce about the good ole days.