Books vs Kindle

Kindle device lying on top of open book

I love books and have grown up surrounded by them; the feel, touch and smell of old and new books still intoxicate and comfort me. They are my best friends for life to whom I return to in times of sadness and happiness.

I grew up reading books and they are my favourite and special pastime. Nothing can compare or replace sitting by a crackling fire, turning the pages of a leather-bound book or lounging on a beach or sunning in a hill station with a good dog-eared paperback.

The birth of Kindle or e-books has opened up a new world to book lovers all over the world and however much one may love holding a book, turning its pages, etc, today is indeed the world of Kindle and e-books. E-books, unlike physical books, makes buying books easier, and you can’t beat their portability, but I was disturbed by thoughts like: what if getting a Kindle turned me away from my beloved books? Would reading become an irrestible convenient and somehow less joyful experience?

The main advantage of a Kindle is that it’s easily portable; they can be carried from place to place easily be it on a plane, train, car, etc., jam-packed with as many books as you want. You are given a choice of reading all your favourite books in one place without having to go to a bookstore or wait for delivery, as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection you can read whatever book you want right there and then. New releases tend to be cheaper on Kindle and you get a varied choice of classic novels which are free of cost. E-books are convenient as you can purchase a book directly from your device; it appears almost immediately on your device and you can start reading it in matters of minutes. There are no shipping expenses, but at the same time we give up the joy of searching for our favourite books in a bookshop which is an experience in itself.

Reading an e-book has a lot of advantages over traditional books, the biggest being that you can adjust the size of the text, change the font and colour to your liking. When you buy an e-book you are not really buying a book in a traditional way, you are instead renting it out, and you have no right to bequeath or sell it.

There is no such thing as a “used book”, so if you are an avid second-hand book shopper you may end up paying a lot more for some titles. Lending books to people is a lot harder. The biggest drawback on Kindle is that you need a device to read on and you must keep that device charged.

In the end, reading a “real book” is just much nicer. There is something about turning the pages and holding a book that just feels right and perfect. Hugging a book can make you feel happy and comforted. A book is much nicer to take to bed than an e-reader and if you love books enough to keep them, they stay on your shelf like an old friend forever that you can always stop by and visit with whenever you feel like.

As for me, I still love and yearn for and treasure my “old-fashioned” books and I guess it’s a personal choice. I will go on displaying my old traditional books and I believe that they will never disappear or become outdated.

Bhavani Sundaram
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Bhavani Sundaram

Bhavani Sundaram, a freelance writer based in Dharampur, loves travelling and writing. She is an avid reader of books, and an animal lover and activist.