I do not own an e-reader. I know, I’m practically antediluvian, eh? It’s partly because I don’t have the unassigned cash lying around for an e-reader and all the e-books I’d have to buy to stock it. Even at a paltry ninety-nine cents apiece, and assuming I could even find them all in e-format, the cost of getting my current library onto an e-reader is probably equal to the GNP of a small eastern European country. Trust me on this.
Cost is only one reason I’m unlikely to go all post-modern, or even post-diluvian, and get an e-reader any time soon. I have others. Here are my top ten reasons why I’ll probably always prefer a book to an e-reader.
Number 10 – You can read a book in the bathtub without fear of death by electrocution.
Number 9 – A book works even when the power is out, or you run out of batteries.
Number 8 – Pictures don’t take ten minutes to download.
Number 7 – You can annotate a book. I know you can annotate e-books, too, because there’s an app for it, and apparently it lets you see every annotation made on the book by anybody who’s read it. Do you really want to read six columns of “Right on!” interspersed with spam and off-topic rants?
Number 6 – A book will never give you a “page not found” message.
Number 5 – Speaking of not found, it’s extremely difficult to mislay 1,738 physical books all at once. You’re hardly likely to leave them on the bus or in that little café two towns ago without noticing.
Number 4 – If you drop a book, or spill your coffee on it, it will still work.
Number 3 – You can open a book without risking a virus that will wipe out your entire library. Even if you inhale some ghastly rare mold that grows on books, it will probably infect only your lungs and not your other books. Admittedly you won’t get a lung-shredding mold from an e-book reader, but let’s keep things in perspective here. What’s more important—your lungs, or your library?
Number 2 – You can borrow, lend, give away or re-sell a book without legal repercussions. You can even buy used ones and know they will still work, and that they won’t have picked up a virus that will wipe out your library.
Number 1 – The technology to use a book will never become obsolete. NASA has data it can’t read any more because tape drives are now as rare as a speeding sloth. My fifty-eight-year-old peepers, on the other hand, are almost as good as the day I cracked my first board book—at least as long as I wear my reading glasses. Even if I forget them, I can still read that board book.
Sometimes it pays to be antediluvian.