I am a book person. Each summer, my mother would take my sister and I to the library at least once a week. We each borrowed ten books (the maximum), and as my mom drove us home, I began reading in the car.
My shyness and unease during high school would propel me to search for a place where I felt accepted. I found refuge in the school library, volunteering at lunch and after-school.
During college, I worked part-time in a public library. And as an undergraduate student, I gained classroom experience by volunteering to read aloud in an elementary school classroom.
Suffice it to say, I am reluctant to embrace a hand-held tablet device. For those who travel, I think the tablet certainly does solve the problems of space and added weight that a pile of books can create in crammed luggage.
However, in my mind there are so many benefits, so many reasons why we can’t stop publishing physical books. Here is my list of the five reasons why I prefer a book to a digital version.
- Books are unique. The font, picture, and design of each book is distinct. The covers are designed to stand out. They are a way of glimpsing the content inside as well as differentiating one book from another.
- Books are substantial. Meaning, they fill up my bookcase. Physical books are a way of documenting my life, my interests. There is the shelf of books about parenthood. The shelf of books about living in France (a fantasy of mine). The shelf of books about teaching.
- Books can be easily shared. I can read a novel that I enjoyed and pass it along to my mom, knowing she’ll be entertained.
- Books can be personalized. I highlight while I read, tag pages with post-its, and mark thoughtful passages. My reading thus becomes my reading, different from someone else’s final take on the story.
- Books are cheaper. A book is much easier and cheaper to replace than a tablet. Accidents happen, and I admit I once dozed off in the bathtub and dropped the biography I was reading into the lukewarm water. The book was ruined, but I was able to easily buy myself a replacement copy.