As I mentioned fleetingly in my last post, Hard Times by Charles Dickens is the first eBook that I’ve read on my Kindle. It’s a very different experience to reading an actual book, or “pBooks” as I’ve recently heard them called (excuse me while I repress a shudder). I have to admit that reading the novel’s first chapter on the Kindle felt utterly soul-less. It was like looking at a snapshot of a puppy compared to having the warm and furry real-life version cuddling up on your lap. I’m aware of how mad that sounds, but I’m afraid that’s how I felt.
At first, I thought that I’d made a terrible mistake even owning this strange device: I was trading the magical sensory world of the paper book for this flat, dreary alternative! I confided my fears to a colleague who is also a fellow book-lover and Kindle-owner. “Of course it’s soul-less!” she replied cheerily, “But you get used to it.” This made me feel a little better; it was apparently fine for eBooks not to be cuddly. What they offer is an alternative reader experience, which suits some people enormously and is quite simply not for others. The book-lover must accept this fact and move on, either embracing the eBook’s differences or acknowledging that they’re not comfortable with them. But I do think it’s important to at least give them a try. Otherwise how can you judge them fairly?