Reading as a pastime has shot up in popularity since Covid has come about, clearly because a lot of outdoor activities are now forbidden. This of course is not all bad, since journeying in the mind can be equally as entertaining (and sometimes more so) than actual travelling. I remember many years ago, when I was still a teenager, travelling on a coach in Israel, buried in reading Lord of the Rings which a friend had kindly given to me for my 18th birthday present. An affronted local urged me to look at the views about us, and I politely obliged him, whilst frankly very keen to return to my book.
I remember being quite suspicious of eReaders when they first were marketed. But I always like to keep an open mind, and decided that the fairest way to judge if they “work” would be to read a new book from an author I like, so that if I did not enjoy the book, I could reasonably blame the device. A new Ian McEwan book had been published and downloadable on my Kindle (other brands are available!), and I set about devouring it. Quite honestly, I enjoyed the book, and did not really notice that I was reading on an electronic device, absorbed as I was in the novel.
The biggest advantage of a physical book of course is that you can quite instantly flick through or return to a specific passage by scanning pages, something impossible to do with an eReader. And of course you can decorate your book with some rather magnificent bookmarks that Gifts for Readers and Writers offer! (Of course we do offer some lovely stands for eReaders too).
These days I flit between paper and epaper, so to speak. I think most of us do really if we include our computers and tablets.
Quite a lot of people get quite emotional about their preference, which reminds me of the debates I used to have between vegetarians and carnivores. My brother for example swears that he will never read from an eReader, and we have money waged that he won’t. But I think the subject does not merit so much heat. The main thing is to enjoy what you’re reading. Does it matter how you read after all? Think of Fahrenheit 451. When all the books were burnt, they lived on in people’s minds, and were equally as rewarding and valuable. Because in the end all books boil down to ideas which are of course entirely non corporeal.