Would I Trade My Paper Books For Digital Books?

Would I Trade My Paper Books For Digital Books?

No, I won’t! But I sure would supplement my collection with an e-book reader, but then that’s a personal opinion. I still love to write with a fountain pen on a good quality paper. If I had to write something personal and preserve it, I would do so in a diary with a fountain pen. A word processor on a computer has its place and I agree it can be fairly convenient but there is an impersonality to it. Pen and paper are intimate, and so is a book.

My books, perhaps the only luxury I permit myself, range far and wide on subjects and genre. However, the flyleaf of every book bears in my handwriting, where and what day did I buy it. And now whenever I pick up that book, it brings back a flood of memories related to even the purchase and the buying decision. Sometimes they remind me that there were three more books on that shelf which I liked but couldn’t buy. The feel of paper, the smell of old pages and a personal touch, a sense of belonging is what I get when I hold a book in my hand. Mind you, I am extremely possessive about my books!!

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I still cherish our visits to my grandparents’ place during vacations. My grandfather always maintained a library of books. The entire wall of the living room was lined with inbuilt cupboards and they were stacked with books. Opening a cupboard and taking in the smell of books was the headiest experience I remember of my growing up years. Gulzar, one of the most eminent poets and writer, has conveyed this beautifully and accurately in one of his poems, “Kitaben jhankti hain bund almari k sheeshon se….”, the experience of reading a book vs the digital world. I cannot express it better!

A lot of people and especially the younger generation would root for e-books and for good reasons of course. I agree e-books are very handy. An e-reader or a phone can carry hundreds of books without any trouble. You can take them anywhere, read them anywhere, adjust the fonts for a comfortable read and yes, I do have a kindle. But for me, reading from a kindle is just about reading a story, whereas, holding a book in my hand to read is a whole plethora of experiences.

Would I give it up for a digital book? Never!

So, convenience is the theme of an e-book but the luxury of touch, feel, smell, that is unique to a paper book.

*This article is contributed by Ms. Seema Hashmy.

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