Random Thoughts: Call it Old Fashioned, but a Bound Book has its Merits

In this age of technological advancements is it unusual to be pining for the days of the non-electronic book? Every day we spend hour after hour staring at a computer screen to check our email, use our productivity software to produce documents, spreadsheets and presentations, research articles, read up-to-the-minute content, and on. But now we have these amazing electronic books that allow us to carry our entire library with us from place to place.

But there is still something so wonderful about picking up a well made book. Handling a cloth-bound tome with a finely textured page and deckled edge gives you the sense that what you’re reading is important, and makes you appreciate the time and effort that went into creating a book from idea to final product. With our electronic formats coming at us so stealthily, and with such immediacy, it is often easy to forget all the work that went into a story’s creation.

And settling down with a great novel is about slowing down, leisure, taking the time to enter a different world than the one rushing past us each day. By reading on the go, with our e-inks, and electronic page turns, we lose that tactile connection we had to our books. Feeling the raised inks and textured weave as our finger trails along to guide our eyes, or turning down the corner of a page to save our place, are just some of the sensory experiences we lose from following a story on an ebook.

The experience of sitting in our homes with our shelves of well-loved and well-read novels surrounding us cannot be matched with a portable library on a memory chip. And a visit to a public library with a loaner ebook reader and empty shelves does not create the sense of wonder in our young children as a room filled to the ceiling with colorful and exciting stories.

As a reader, I have moved on to the ebook format with a relish, opting instead for the ease and convenience of the electronic medium, but have moments of nostalgia for those beautifully printed, illustrated and designed books that were the norm until recent years. And to those brave authors who have opted not to conform, just yet, to the digital world, your steadfastness is to be commended.

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