Books, Not Kindling

As I stood in line to order my first Starbucks drink of the school year, I noticed that behind me stood a young man reading on his Kindle. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw someone using an e-reader before then. I do remember a lot of speculation being made about how the e-reader was going to be the death of books though.

It is difficult to find a credible source of information about how many Kindles have or have not been sold since hitting the market in November 2007. Could this be because they haven’t been doing well? At $119, a basic Kindle Paperwhite isn’t too steep in price, so why are they not as popular as anticipated — supposedly so popular that it could potentially put printing out of business?

Being an avid book lover, I am always interested in finding other people with the same appreciation for books like I have. More often than not, I come across people who go as far as saying they hate to read, leaving me to feel like I’m one of the last people left in the world with this passion. I think that the Kindle didn’t take over the world because there is a general lack of interest in reading, which is funny because I imagined businessmen behind Amazon thinking that this new technology would bring it back.

On my current college budget, I would not spend my own money on a Kindle or any other e-reader, but I wouldn’t mind being given one as a gift. I already know what I would use it for — to store all my guilty pleasure books, ones that I want to read but don’t want people to see I own, like the “Pretty Little Liars” series by Sara Shepard. For others, these books might be the “Twilight” series or “50 Shades of Grey.”

I’ve realized it could also come in handy when you need a book for an assignment and the bookstore has ran out and you don’t have time to wait for it to be mailed to you from Amazon. From my experience, professors do prefer hard copies in class, but in a jam, it’s an option.

Kindles can also be seen as a convenient space saver, but any home of mine wouldn’t be a home without a full bookshelf or five. I feel like everything about owning your own hard copies of books is better. I feel much more satisfied and accomplished when reading a hard copy of a book and being able to look at how many pages I’ve finished. I love taking the upper right corner of a page and feeling the texture between my fingers; it often adds extra anticipation of what is going to happen next in the story. Reading a story on an e-reader just isn’t the same — it doesn’t even come close to the great sensations having an actual book in your hand gives you.

Books also have a particular scent that I’m fond of, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, just walk into any bookstore. It’s like walking into a coffee house and smelling coffee, but better because it’s books. Another great thing about having an actual hard copy of a book that is hard to argue with, is that unlike the Kindle, a book does not have a battery life.

Even though new technology is getting more distracting and exciting, I don’t see books going anywhere any time soon. Books are here to stay.

Aleece Reynaga is a 5th-year English major. She can be reached at areynaga@uci.edu