Books used to be warm and solid with pages that flapped in anticipation, occasionally stuck and were frequently limp from steamy baths, crumbs, coffee – or maybe all three.
They were also bulky, and if you were unfortunate enough to purchase one that lost your interest by page five then – tough! Even if the expectations evoked by the blurb, had not been met, the rave review suspect and the cover deceptive – you felt compelled to finish it and get your £6.99 worth. You gave it a go and stayed with it until it fell from your hands from boredom, exhaustion or exasperation. A costly and time-consuming mistake.
Enter, on-line book shop. Warm and solid books delivered to the door. Now I could read reviews, get recommendations, save money and occasionally dip inside and read an excerpt. Books released by my favourite authors were ordered at the click of a finger. No more searching or elbowing my way to the front of the book shelves. No more shifting uncomfortably from one foot to the other whilst balancing bags and glancing at the time wondering how long the car park ticket had left. No more disapproving looks whilst you lingered to sample a few pages in store. All I had to do was wait for the postman to deliver them to my door.
Enter e-readers! Warm? Yes. Solid? Yes. Bulky? No – and fabulous giant font for when you can’t find your glasses – plus lots of free reads. A writers’ and readers’ paradise. Now I could download a sample of any book with no effort at all. So spoilt! The literary equivalent to speed dating. .
It’s not like reading a real book though is it? I’m asked.
No. It’s not – it’s much better. Especially if you live in a house where the book shelves are already overflowing.
What next? Sounds to accompany the text, they say.
But, shouldn’t the written word evoke the senses? Books are places to escape too – and personally I don’t want someone else to interpret the mood of the script for me with added sound effects..
But then again I remember shuddering when e-books were invented.
It will never catch on…. Hah! Heard that before.