When I got the alert for this week’s writing challenge I grinned. I tried not to look too awkward because the alert had come in while conversing with a friend and I didn’t want to change the subject. So I put a pause on my trepidation (don’t ask me how) and I came back to write on it. So why am I so excited on writing about “the hard covers versus eBooks” debate? The truth is I just love books especially hard backs and let me just say I am an advocate for them. I find this debate very tricky because as much as I advocate for hard covers, most of my daily reading is from my phone! What is it with our love for hard backs and our less commitment to them? The answer is all too easy isn’t it? The internet and technology. Honestly speaking, having information in soft copies/eBooks is the fastest and most efficient medium of disseminating, assessing and consuming information. I mean when was the last time I picked up a newspaper? I don’t even remember because there is little or no need to. I could go on and on about the benefits of soft copies and ebooks without repeating a point. Sometimes I begin to second guess myself; are hard covers any good?
I got a hard copy of Chinua Achebe’s “There was a country” over the weekend and let me just say- it was a beautiful experience. I admired the hard back underneath the paper back, I ran my fingers through its thick pages and I finally smelt it- the fresh warm ink welcomed me to start reading. The font size was a tart too small but the experience with this beautiful hard back jolted me to read over a hundred pages in no time. What is it with hard copies though? There is this emotional attachment I dare say we form with hard covers than with ebooks or soft copies. It is such an episodic moment each time I read a hard cover that even when I forget the name of the book I never forget the colour! It is almost like our brains connect the information in the book with its physical characteristics and creates some strong emotional connection (I really should research on this), it is such a complex feeling with hard covers!
In summary I believe that an individual’s preference for ebooks and hard covers is mostly dependent on the individual himself, the genre of literature and of course the purpose of reading. Individuals differ a lot in terms of preferences, and from experience I have noticed that these preferences are contingent on the mood of the individual and other factors. So for instance, I might be in the mood to read a hard cover today because I am staying indoors but tomorrow I might be travelling and I wouldn’t want any extra item, so I might purchase an ebook. So with the individual factor, I think it is more an issue of convenience really.
Then there is the genre of literature. Personally, I prefer to read academic literature in hard copy than soft copy. For me, if I have to memorise a lot of information at a time, there is no way I would want a lecture note for instance on my laptop or on my phone, I’ll rather have them in loose sheets and have a coloured pen handy for notes. So the genre or literature and the purpose of reading are much the same really. If I was reading for pleasure I might find myself at a cross road deciding how I want to read a book, but if I was perhaps reading for an exam I’ll definitely pick a hard cover over an ebook or a soft copy.
Bottom line, whether it is hard or soft copy you read, never forget a common but true fact: A good writer is one that reads.
If you enjoyed my take on the debate and would love to share in the conversation, feel free to comment and like this post. If you have a blog, you can write a post on this issue like I have done and share your link with me and DPchallenge