Picture this. It’s a beautiful summer day. You’re walking down the street with no real purpose at all. You stop to look at the store windows. You look up at the buildings as you walk by. You eavesdrop on the conversation between the man and woman in front of you. You restrain yourself from butting in on their conversation even though you want to tell them that even though Indiana Jones 4 was the worst movie in the series, it was not as bad as everyone says. Luckily, you restrain yourself.
Suddenly, you see a bookstore up ahead and you can’t help but feel excited. You walk up to the window and look at all the new releases propped upright and displayed like manikins at the Gap. You walk in through the door and hear the bell announcing your entrance to the girl behind the counter. She greets you with a warm smile and asks if you need help finding anything. You smile back stating that you’re just there to browse. Your gaze lingers longer than it should have but you don’t think she noticed.
You proceed to walk through the aisles of the bookstore in no particular order. You are literally browsing. You see a title that catches your eye. You pick it up, read the synopsis, and put it back. Zombies attack the city of Boston who defends the attack with the help of some Martians. Not very interesting. You continue to peruse the stacks while stealthily stealing glances at the girl behind the counter. You swear you catch her looking back at you but you convince yourself otherwise. You pick up another book and read the synopsis. This one sounds interesting. You decide to have a seat to read a little of it. You open the book and thumb through the pages. You can hear the pages rustle as they quickly fly by under your thumb and then snap when they all hit the front cover. The distinct “book” smell wafts up from the pages and tickles your nostrils as if it were an entree at a fancy restaurant. You sit on a recliner and begin to read. The first few pages are decent. Actually, they are thrilling. You start putting your finger behind the page before you finish reading it so that you can turn it faster and not skip a beat. Before you know it, you’re finished with the first chapter. It’s too good to pass up so you decide to buy it.
You take the book up to the girl behind the counter who seems genuinely glad to see that you want to purchase something. Before scanning it, she looks it over a few times and flips through the pages.
“Good choice. This is one of my favorites,” she says smiling at you again as you hand her your card to pay for the book.
“I was reading it in the back. I got so hooked I just had to buy it.”
“I could tell,” she laughs. She smiles again as you look at her. As she hands you the receipt to sign she asks if you want a bag.
“Nah, let’s save a tree. I’ll just carry it. I plan on going to the coffee shop next door to read it anyway.”
She laughs at the tree joke even though you both know it’s really bad. She hands you the book and you give her the signed receipt. However, before you walk away you decide to go for gold.
“Hey, I don’t know when your shift ends but I plan on being at the coffee place for a while and I wouldn’t mind having some company.” You took a long shot; you mentally cross your fingers hoping it pays off.
“My shift actually ends in 15 minutes and I’m dying for some coffee. I could meet you there.” While she is saying this you can see her already warm smile grow slightly.
“Sounds good to me.” As you turn to walk away, you get a good feeling in your stomach. You smile as you open the door to leave. The bell jingles announcing your good fortune.
Now let’s look at this under different circumstances. It’s a Saturday afternoon and you have just finished all of your homework for the weekend like a good student. However, all your friends are still swamped with work and are unable to spend time with you until later. You’re bored out of your mind, looking for something to do. After spending 2 hours on the internet playing Flash games and checking your social media sites, you decide to do something productive. You look over to your right and see the eReader that your parents bought you for Christmas. The flat grey box lies there like some dormant machine waiting for the right time to take over the world. You decide that you want to read a book and reach for the eReader.
As you grab it, you notice how smooth and light the device is. However, you realize these characteristics make the eReader rather sterile and unfriendly. You stare at the glass screen and see your bored reflection staring back at you. You slide the power button on only to realize that the battery has run out and you need to be plugged in in order to use the gadget. You curse under your breath because not only are you now bound to the wall by the cord but also you have to scour your room looking for the charger. You finally find the cord and plug in the eReader.
After the eReader boots up, you decide to go shopping for a new book. You look at a list of books on your eReader, clicking and dragging ad nauseum. A book catches your eye, which was difficult to do because the normally beautiful cover has been changed to a dreary greyscale version that offends more than delights the eyes. You decide to sneak a peek at the book before you decide to buy it. You start reading. The story is very interesting and as you continue to read, you enjoy it more. You keep pressing the button to turn the page but then you have to wait as the eReader turns the page for you. This robs you of the satisfaction of turning the page yourself and makes you wait just that little longer before getting you to the next page forcing you to hold out the last word from the previous page in your head. However, you keep reading and the book gets more exciting and you become completely drawn in by the book. You can’t put it down or even look away. That is until you reach the arbitrary end of the “sneak peak” that you’re allowed to have of the book and you can’t read any more unless you buy it. Now you have to know what happens so you plug in your credit card information, wait a few minutes while the book downloads onto your eReader (your wireless connection isn’t so great), and then begin to read the book alone in an uncomfortable chair bound to the wall of your room.
What’s the moral of the story my fair readers? Physical books are far superior to eReaders. I personally cannot get behind using an eReader because I feel it takes away a lot of the experience of reading a book. I believe the eReader is solely concentrating on the words between the covers and not taking a book for everything its worth. eReaders remove all the personality from reading and change it from a leisure activity into a chore. Reading should not be a chore and that’s why I prefer real books to the eReader.