Here is some more ammunition for Kindle-bashers, coming from the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal on February 12-13, 2011.
In the weekly Books section, Eric Ormsby writes that “books beget books – and sometimes writers are moved to pay tribute to the ones that formed them” (p. C7). His article points out that writers claim that their inspiration for writing comes as much from the books they have read, as from life itself. And, especially so from those they read as a child.
In the piece, he argues this: “an interesting feature of such reminiscenses is how strongly they depend upon the physical nature of the book. The printed book’s physicality presents a challenge to e-books, however convenient they are. We tend to remember the love and heft of a book that we fell in love with. Will we feel the same about ghostly glimmerings of a monitor?”
And, then: “One reads a certain edition, a specific copy, recognizable by the roughness or smoothness of its paper, by its scent, by a slight tear on page 72 and a coffee ring on the right-hand corner of the back cover.”
Ormsby’s piece reminds me of Tim Sanders’ best-seller, Love is a Killer App. Sanders advocates working with a book, not just reading it. He said to buy hardback books – 4-6 at a time, write in the margins, and draft a summary at the end of a chapter before going to the next. The book even shows sample pages from books Sanders worked with.
There is no way that innovations on electronic readers such as a Kindle, including emoticons, highlighters, and flash pens come close to duplicating, or even replicating, working with a book in the way Ormsby and Sanders talk about it. Hold your book, work with your book, and remember your book. That is how you build and capture your memories. And, that is what inspires additional writing.
In conclusion, a glimmering monitor does not hold a candle to that experience.
What do you think? Let’s talk about it!