You, my dear paperback novels and textbooks, are irreplaceable. I could never in a million years even dream of rejecting you in favor of words on a cold, lifeless, glass screen. Sure, technology can be a great blessing, and it's an important part of my life. I have a phone and a laptop, and I regularly use technology for communication, education, and entertainment purposes. I have nothing against technology, as long as it does not overwhelm our lives and cut us off from each other.
In the same way, I have nothing against the idea of digital books. Some people genuinely find e-books to be more convenient and conducive to their needs and budget. As long as they are reading, that's what matters to me, even if it is on a laptop or Kindle screen. Thus, I see e-books as a huge blessing – for some people.
Personally, though, I've never felt the same attachment to them as I have to you, my beautiful bound copies of treasured words. I love your crisp smell, your whimsical artwork, the feeling of your glossy cover in my hands, and the joy of flipping through your pages at will. You never need to be recharged, and I don't need to scroll through endless pages on a computer screen to get to what I need. You are more than just a piece of glass and metal – you are warm and inviting, a ceaseless well of wisdom and joy and entertainment. Your cover patiently bends beneath my eager hands, allowing me several minutes to bask in the rustle and soft caress of your pages before delving into the story within.
Of course, the words on the page contain the true heart of a story, but I've found that the medium in which those words are conveyed matters just as much to me when it comes to making my reading experiences truly enjoyable and memorable. Books are for reading, but I don't even need to crack open the pages of you, my favorite paperbacks, in order to appreciate the way your beauty stirs my deepest emotions and soul. Even your outward appearance entrances me.
And sure, I get it – you cost a lot, often much more than it costs to invest in a Kindle long-term. But to me, the cost is worth it every single time. For books are one of my greatest joys in life. If I absolutely need to, I'll resort to using an e-textbook for a college class. But even when the books I'm reading are educational instead of literary, I'll still jump at any chance to own the physical copy. I love the freedom of quickly flipping to whatever page I need, and I've found I learn and retain far more information when I hold a real book in my hands, rather than simply skimming words on a screen.
They say young people are becoming too caught up in the hype of technology. That may be true on many levels, but I hope the older generations take heart – for there are still young people like me who love curling up with a good book in a comfy chair, who willingly peel their eyes from a screen to interact with a real, physical thing. And perhaps this eagerness to look away from our digital screens also heralds a renewed desire to interact with everything and everyone in the world outside our addictive technology. Perhaps by loving our paperback books, we can also rekindle our awareness of and care for real people.