As someone who always carries a book in my bag, I am often advised to buy Kindle. I have myself toyed with the idea of buying one often. Kindle is lighter, can store many books at once, has a great battery life, saves paper, etc. But there's something that holds me back every time my fingers hover dangerously close to the 'Add To The Cart' icon when I visit the Amazon website.
So, what are the reasons one may not want to buy Kindle, despite being a book lover? I’m sure you've heard the "Oh, it doesn't feel like a real book!" argument.
So I won't go there. Let's explore other reasons.
Books Could be Your Gateway to Love
You're reading on the metro, lost in the magic of words, oblivious to the world around you. You don't realise that there's a pair of eyes secretly watching you. No, actually, it's the title of the book that's caught their attention. The observer comes up to you and interrupts your book-induced reverie saying – "Hey! That's an amazing book you're reading. I read it last week. How do you like it?" He smiles at you. A disarming smile. The Jay Gatsby kind of smile. You smile back, happy with the realisation that there are still things in the world that are prettier than the book you're holding, and you share your impressions of the book. For all you know, a few minutes later, you two might be walking off into the sunset discussing books and quoting your favourite lines.
A few lines by the narrator's quirky mother from Jerry Pinto's remarkable Em and the Big Hoom come to my mind. The narrator's parents had met in a book shop.
“...in the bookshops, there weren’t many buyers. Just lovers, long distance lovers. I didn’t go to bookshops to buy. That’s a little bourgeois. I went because they were civilised places. It made me happy there were people who sat down and wrote and wrote and there were people who devoted their lives to making those words into books. It was lovely. Like standing in middle of civilisation.”
Now, can this happen with Kindle? No physical books, no bookstores. This could avert the coupling of so many intelligent minds – isn't that sad?
Books Make for Pretty Home Decor
I am not sure how many of you realise the incredible power of books to render a dull and deserted corner of your house alive and welcoming. Just stack up a few books against the wall, throw in a large floor cushion or a beanbag, hang a pendant lamp – and you've just made your room awesome! Some book covers are so exquisite that they can rival art objects easily. Use them well and see your space turn Oh-so-classy! Can you do that with Kindle?
Books Speak for You
When someone comes over to your place for the first time and looks at your books, they get a sense of the person you are without your having to say it. Your books open a tiny window through which one can peek into your personality. Your taste in books speaks for your outlook towards life. Then, by discovering your favourite ones, the highly recommended ones and the ones which you didn't like as much, they can fine-tune their understanding of your weltenschauung.
All the books laid out there on your shelf have a little bit of you preserved between their pages. If one is perceptive enough one can read into your personality, to a reasonable degree, by reading the titles gracing your book shelf.
I am not sure if someone on their visit to your house may want to ask you to open your Kindle for them so that they may see the titles you own. (On a related note, those who don't notice your books, aren't worth being invited a second time round. Just saying!)
Kindle is Expensive
Actually, I am poor. There! I said it. So maybe, if you're wondering what to buy me this Diwali, I’ve already made your life easier. You can thank me later. After I have thanked you for your generosity, that is.
Don't worry, I will make do without the amazing benefits that physical books come with. We HAVE to save trees. Remember!
(Yash Raj Goswami is a teacher and a freelance writer.)