Tuesday, January 24, 2012

That Which We Call a Book

The hardcover edition of Catherine the Great by Robert Massie weighs 2 lbs. 3 oz. A Kindle weighs
7.5 oz. Anyone negotiating the T during rush hour, bundled in winter clothes, gripping a tote bag in one hand while trying to hold a book open with the other might ask, why not buy an e-book? Could the answer be that you'd miss the joy of giving books and passing them on as beloved possessions?  Would you miss browsing in bookstores? Do you just like the feel of the book in your hands and the paper as you turn the page?  It's a tough choice, but one that comes up more and more frequently these days as the price of e-readers goes down and the availability of e-books goes up.

E-book fans will bring up the usual arguments. They are sleek, small, and light. Their portability is ideal for travel and commuting. Readers can change sizes and fonts, highlight words, access definitions and references. Reluctant readers might be more motivated to read, thus increasing literacy. The benefits for the environment abound; trees are saved and paper waste reduced. Fluency in new technology stimulates the brain. Finally, in the words of Stephen Fry, “Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.”

Good points all, but have you thought of this - how could we possibly wax poetic about a piece of plastic and glass? "There is no frigate like a Kindle to take us lands away?" That's just not right.

Luckily our library can offer you either, an honest to goodness hard copy or the latest e-book available. CPL is the second biggest user of Overdrive, the largest library e-book provider. E-books may be checked out for 1,2, or sometimes 3 weeks. There are no fees associated with Overdrive, since you can never have a late book. The titles simply disappear from the device after the loan period expires.

So we'll see you at the library.  And happy reading - in whatever format you choose!

There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends and help to support our Cambridge libraries click here.

1 comment:

  1. What a charming blog on the books versus Kindle debate. Despite the scrupulous fairness about the Kindle's virtues, I suspect the writer's heart is on the side of books. When you have Emily Dickinson in your corner, how could a book ever lose to that Kindle contraption!