Things are being said about heft. About weight, feel, smell, texture. There’s a nostalgia in licking a finger to turn the page. About the flutter of pages in a soft breeze on a summer afternoon. Lovely. These things are nice. But they don’t have anything to do with reading. They’re lovely, they’re wonderful to reminisce over, but they’re about to become a thing of the past.
And they really should be. Lugging around a huge copy of Infinite Jest is not reading, it’s annoying. It’s back breaking (not to mention pretentious). Opening a book to that well-worn favorite crease is not reading, it’s remembering. It’s a different experience than an ebook, which when you turn it on, feels a little like you’re about to check your email or watch a movie. But you’re not. This is how reading a book feels now, and that’s okay. Like my mom would say when comparing my sister and I, “You’re just different. Not any better or worse. Just different.”
But that’s not exactly true. I am better than my sister, and ebooks are better than “traditional” books, which from now on I’ll just call old.
If you are so attached to all the accoutrements of old books that you don’t see how awesome ebooks are, I have something to say to you: you don’t really like reading. You like people to think you like reading. You like the idea of yourself liking reading. But if you really liked to read, you’d understand that, though you may miss old books for a minute, ebooks are better for reading, and so, better for readers.
You can still use libraries. You can still spread out on the lawn at the park. It’s just easier now. Less focused on smelling books, more focused on reading them.