But is that a good thing or a bad thing? This writer from theNew York Times Review of Books seems to think eliminating the physical aspect of a book for the ephemeral “pure” experience of reading just the words in sequence is the optimal way for a reader to engage with a book (or at least with “literature” and “literary experience”). I’m not going to get into it now, but I don’t agree with this at all. A physical book is a sensual experience and that can certainly contribute to reader engagement! The writer does make the point that in a censored society, burning an ereader doesn’t have the same impact on access to information that burning physical books does, which is true (unless Amazon or a publisher yanks the book), and is one of the pluses of ebooks.
At the same time that the NYR is expounding on the joys of ebooks, though, another article makes the opposite argument- in some cases, ebooks just can’t measure up. I suggest checking out item number 4, which also makes a valid point about the effectiveness of book burning when it comes to physical books vs. ereaders. And all you horror movie lovers, don’t miss out on #5. The ebook version of the Necronomicon just doesn’t have the visual impact of the physical book, wouldn’t you agree?
I’ve grown to appreciate the advantages of ebooks, but the physical book is, I think, still too necessary, on so many levels, to ever reach extinction… It’s not only because it’s consumed by flames with more impact than an ereader is that the physical book burns brighter in the mind and hands of a reader than an ebook ever will.