Thursday, July 12, 2012

Advantage: Print Books

I fully recognize that e-books are the wave of the future. In fact, I'm doing my best to embrace this wave. However, just because I'm not fighting the inevitable doesn't mean that I'll always love print books. For me, there's nothing better than holding a book in my hand and knowing one thing for certain.

I have no problem killing a spider with this thing.

All right, print books are useful for more than spider killing, but I consider that a pretty good perk. When you hold a Nook or a Kindle, the last thing you will do is use your expensive new toy to send that spider back to Hell. No, you will carefully put it down and then go look for something to kill that spider. By then, your eight-legged tormenter won't be where you left her and you'll spend your night hunting that walking nightmare down.

If you were reading a regular book, you'd have simply closed it, killed the spider, took a wet paper towel to the cover, and gone on reading. In fact, now that this tome is 1-0 against spiders, it just makes it that much a better read. You know that this book has your back against all vermin. That's why I'm never getting rid of my Harry Potter hardcovers, they are perfect for the exterminatio spell.

Killing multi-legged and segmented intruders is just one advantage print books have over e-readers. If I planned to spend twenty years using a small pickaxe to dig a tunnel through a prison wall, I couldn't exactly hide it in my Kindle Fire. For centuries, we've been using hollowed out books to hide our secrets from prying eyes, and it's a proud tradition we need to continue.

Now, before you think I'm some book-abusing philistine, let me take you to the most important advantage print books have over e-books: the smell. There's nothing like the smell of a new book when you crack it open for the first time. It's a subtle, almost subconscious sensation that accompanies reading. For me, it's almost Pavlovian - I smell a book and it takes me back to all those great reading experiences.

If you're a reader, you remember some books more than others. You remember where and when you read it, and picking it up off the shelf now takes you back to that time. Smell is a huge part of memory, and there are times I'll encounter a scent that takes me right back to my childhood. The smell of books is no different to me. I spent so many hours devouring book after book that the smell is forever imprinted in my brain. Reading a printed book makes me feel like a kid again.

So that is why print books will always have an advantage. They take me back to my childhood. The fact that they turn into impromptu spider-killing weapons is just a bonus.

You can find more of my inane ramblings here.

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