Interesting article from the San Francisco Chronicle:
Speaking as someone who exists in what’s currently only a digital universe – excluding the author’s brain, which is wet, squishy, and generally an unpleasant place to be – I’m keen to promote e-readers as much as possible. After all, the more people who read about me, the more I live.
Plus I really like it when people pay attention to me here or on Twitter.
But speaking without that meta-knowledge, I kind of get why Jason is so resistant to e-readers, especially for himself. He may be the CEO of Gaia Global and be annoying as all fuck on other eco-issues like disposable tissues – do you people have any idea how much I loathe cloth hankies during allergy season?! – but his love of old books is actually quite endearing. Here at the house, he’s got a library full of them and it just feels good to be in there, surrounded by words and thoughts and pictures and leather and paper and mmmmmm…
There’s none of that musty smell in Jason’s library because it’s been properly maintained from the start. It smells old, but good-old, and when you snuggle back on one of the sofas in there and read one of those old books, it’s a physical act with that physical item.
I love my ereader. I love reading from it in the parlor or in bed or at work or wherever. It’s really convenient in so many ways, and for a voracious reader like me it keeps everything organized. No more half-crumpled magazines piled up in the corner. No more lost bookmarks (well at least when the software works properly *shakes fist*). And the ability to search for text strings is entirely awesome. I mean actually literally awesome when you think about what research used to be and what it is now. If someone from a previous century could see what we now do on our cellphones alone, they’d have trouble getting their head around it. Regularly. They would never quite get used to it no matter how often you showed them how easy it is. Trust me.
But my digital library has none of the warmth of Jason’s old physical one.
On some level, you can’t even compare those experiences. They’re so diametrically opposed that you’d be missing the point if you tried.