I had a huge internal debate with myself prior to purchasing my Kindle. On the one hand, I was more than curious about this latest technological advancement in the art of reading, and the idea of being able to carry around multiple books in a sleek device that could fit in my purse certainly had appeal. On the other hand, I am what I like to call a “traditional reader” and didn’t find myself jumping with excitement when I pictured myself reading on a modified computer screen.
Books are books, and computers are computers. Books come with pages, awesomely designed covers, a distinct smell (I dare you to tell me you don’t enjoy the smell of old books), not to mention the WEIGHT. The weight of a book in your hand, the feel of turning a page, for many readers this act alone is one of the most serene, enjoyable acts known to man. With the Kindle and other handheld reading devices, you don’t get smell or pages, but you do get many books on a single device, which of course has its benefits as well.
Then there is the world of audio “reading.” I guess you can still consider it reading because you are ultimately digesting a story, just through your ears instead of your eyes. I recently decided to try out a trial subscription to Audible, thinking this would be a great option for me to read even more books because I would be able to listen in the car, on the treadmill, or while getting ready for work in the morning. Definitely a viable option with one caveat – if you are unlucky enough to pick a book where the reader has a not-so-flattering voice, it has the potential to ruin the entire experience. Trust me on this one, it’s tough to get over a bad reading voice, or a reader who tries to do accents for certain characters and does a less than adequate job….dealbreaker.
I’ve reached a point where I’m pretty flexible with my reading style. At the moment I have a live book going, as well as one on my Kindle, plus an audio story. And it seems to work. The one issue I have decided to be a huge stickler on, however, is how I read certain authors. There are some writers I will always and forever ready in real book form (I’m looking at you, Stephen King and Margaret George). Then there are others I can be more flexible with. I love Ken Follet’s books, and while I have most of his books sitting on my bookshelf I also have a couple ready to go on my Kindle. For audio books, I really only feel comfortable going that route with books that would be considered “paperback fun.” I can’t really explain it, but some stories and writers just feel so important to me I feel it would be a disservice not to see the words in their pure, written form. Please tell me I’m not the only one out there who feels this way….I’m worried I have some kind of odd complex.
The world of reading keeps evolving, with new products and ways to access books through literally any way and means. But the one thing that will always remain constant? The story. The power of the story and the skill of the storyteller is and always will be everything. Without those crucial elements, there is no staying power.