Has instant coffee replaced fresh brewed?
It’s not the same thing, of course. I’ve never met anyone who prefers instant coffee, except for the sake of convenience, but I have met a few people who have gone solely to e-readers.
Are paper and ink books doomed?
I don’t think so. Just as a cup of gourmet coffee made the old fashioned way is still preferred by coffee connoisseurs, I believe there will always be people like me who love the look and feel of a real book.
I wasn’t always so sure. About a year ago I had a conversation with an avid reader and book lover who had radically changed her reading habits. She was in love with her Nook. She enthusiastically explained to me how she could easily read on a treadmill with just the touch of a finger to turn the page. She went as far as to claim books were clutter and dust collectors and she had happily got rid of her large cumbersome bookcase and all the books in it. My heart stopped and I could barely breathe. I couldn’t find the words to respond. As a writer, I felt panicked when she ended the conversation by adding that she would no longer need to buy another book because she could borrow the e-versions from the library.
I refused to buy an e-reader until recently and only bought one because a book I really wanted was solely available in an e-version. When my Kindle arrived in the mail, however, I have to admit, within minutes I was in love. I was giddy, actually. All these books at my finger tips. So light! Such fun! I took it that very day to my daughter’s soccer game, and while they warmed up, I started reading a bestseller. It was like I had brought a semi-truck full of options with me, and they didn’t weigh a thing. I was smitten.
Some time has passed now and although I still love my Kindle, it hasn’t replaced my love for the real thing. I’ve found that I mostly use it to read books that I don’t have an emotional attachment to. If I really love a book, even if I already have the e-version, I will still purchase a hard copy.
If a book is really special to me, I might even own more than one. For example, through the years I’ve invested in high quality leather-bound editions of my favorite classics. I have an antique copy of Little Women that my grandmother gave me. I still love to curl up in my favorite chair with a real book and lay it open on my chest and pause to ponder a really moving passage. Sure, I could do that with my Kindle, but it’s just not the same.
I can see a day when my children grow up and have kids of their own and they’ll no longer need to drag giant text books to and from school. They’ll probably read the majority of their books on an e-reader, and that’s okay. But I believe as long as the earth spins, we will print books. Maybe much less than before, but they will still exist, and still be treasured.