The Kindle. It’s a controversial subject amongst book lovers: is it the way forward, or is it the worst sin against books ever to be invented?

 

I am a  firm believer in the magic of books. I tend to only buy second hand books because I love the feeling of knowing that somebody else has held the same pages as me, and that the simple marks on the page have taken this other person through an emotional journey; they’ve transported this person out of this world, and into a fictional one. I love the feeling of holding another person’s life in my hands, a whole new world, another universe. I love seeing the dog ear on the pages mark my progress (yes, I’m guilty of folding pages over, I’ve lost so many bookmarks in my time I’ve given up using them) and I love being able to half-see the words on the next page through the one I’m reading, but not quite knowing what emotions they’ll wring from me, or what delights or horrors they’ll bring. I love being able to look at my bookshelf and contemplate which new world I’ll immerse myself in next.

 

With the Kindle, the magic of books is lost. The magic of books is reduced to a cold, hard, technological rectangle.

 

It’s an amazing piece of technology, don’t get me wrong. The way they’ve refused to use a backlight in order to create a screen that looks almost exactly like a piece of paper is incredible, the portability is useful for those who don’t have the space to carry around books, and the appeal of downloading a book whenever you feel the desire to (and for much less money) is both irresistible and incredibly dangerous for my bank account.

 

For an English Literature student like me, you’d think it would be ideal. I have to buy, on average, about 12 books per semester (not including the books I buy for recreational reading) which, as you can imagine, doesn’t come cheap, and the majority of Kindle versions of the books I study sell for less than £1. Add to this the faff of carrying so many books on my walk to uni every day and storing books in my cramped studenty house, and you’d think I’d be worshipping the Kindle as something sent from heaven to make my degree cheaper and easier.

 

But where’s the magic in holding a piece of cold metal? I feel like a heretic of the technological generation I’m supposed to belong to, but there is no wonder and no beauty in reading a metal slab, no matter how amazing the technology is.

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