Life’s Better the Old-Fashioned Way
E-books just don’t offer all the goodies that physical books do (especially that lovable, old book smell).
By Mattie Winowitch, Waynesburg University
These days, it seems like everything is either online or technologically enhanced in some way.
We spend every waking moment attached to our cellphones and posting and #hashtagging every move we make.
Our refrigerators have Wi-Fi enabled screens built into them. Our cars have rearview cameras so you don’t have to turn your head. George Orwell’s “1984” dystopian society has come to fruition.
This is the world we live in, folks. We have done it to ourselves.
It seems as though when it comes to revolutionizing our world, the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” doesn’t really seem to fit the bill. It’s fine, but when it comes to things I love getting replaced by something that is supposed to be “better,” I get a little pissed off. And by a little, I mean a lot.
I’m not afraid to admit I’m an old soul. I love the idea and aesthetic of old diners and public dances. I still love newspapers which is part of why I’m studying journalism at my university. And I absolutely love everything about physical books.
Diners and dancing have been replaced by Chipotle and hookah bars. Newspaper companies are closing left and right due to online news sources. And as far as books are concerned, e-books are trying to take over.
But I’m not just going to sit back and let that happen. Not this time. Therefore, I am presenting to you five reasons why e-books will never beat real books. Ever.
1. They Don’t Smell Like Anything
One of my favorite things about books is the smell of their pages. Each book has a different smell—new books smell different than old books, and old books smell different than library books.
It turns out that the reason behind the smell of our books is actually scientific. The chemicals used to create the pages over time exude sweet and special smells. It’s not exactly something I would turn into an air freshener, but any fellow book-lover would understand where I’m coming from.
And there’s something about the smell of a book that can transport you back to a special place.
For me, it takes me back to being a child and exploring the library with my mom and sister.
Kindles and other e-books, on the other hand, smell like glass and plastic. Depressing.
2. They Aren’t as Satisfying
Reading a book is an experience. When it’s a good book, having to put it down for other responsibilities is always a struggle. When it’s a good book, having the majority of “read” pages shift over to your left hand as you move towards the end of the book is so satisfying. Or getting to slowly flip the pages over in suspense or quickly turning them when you’re dying to find out what happens next.
While reading an e-book, these things just aren’t as satisfying. In fact, they’re actually a bit awkward. The sensation of skimming the pages is replaced by the simple swipe of a finger. Again, simplifying isn’t always the answer. Especially not in this situation.
3. We Retain Information Better on Paper
Once again, science comes to the rescue to back up my reasoning. It is scientifically proven that reading words on paper allows our brains to better process and remember information. Also, the temptation to continuously check an e-mail or a social media notification is not present when it comes to physical books. But when it comes to e-books with an internet connection, anything is possible.
Of course, the argument can be made that you don’t necessarily need to remember every single detail when reading for pleasure, but when discussing the book or having to recall certain events towards the end, it could come in handy.
4. Where’s the Kick Ass Library?
I have a personal goal of having an extensive library when I’m older. I’m talking, like, shelves and shelves of books. Like the library that Beast gave to Belle in his castle.
Okay, maybe not that extravagant. But you get what I’m saying.
On an e-book, you have nothing to show for your wide-ranged repertoire. I once read that when you go to someone’s house for the first time, if they don’t have at least three books (that aren’t comic books or coloring books), you should run in the opposite direction. This is actually good advice if you think about it. Or if you’re just a nerd who overthinks everything like me.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that they have hundreds of books filed away on their e-book, but if it’s tucked away in their drawer, their bare shelves will speak volumes.
And besides, would you really want to date/be friends with someone who uses an e-book?
5. Nothing to Reminisce
Physical books are so special. On top of everything else, there is something about holding a book or having it on your shelf. They are so valuable to me. You can’t scribble little notes in the margins of an e-book. You can’t circle or underline certain words that stick out to you or mean something to you.
The books I’ve received as gifts are also special to my heart. Nothing beats those little handwritten notes on the title pages that can really make you smile. E-books just don’t have the same power.
And above everything else, teardrops could soak pages for days or even smear the words, but they wipe right off of glass like nothing ever happened.
I think it’s safe to say that e-books will never be the same caliber as physical books. They may have their perks, such as portability and the ability to have hundreds of books in the palm of your hands at once, but they will never be the same.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Despite everything else turning to technology, a majority of people still love real books. And I think we should keep it that way.