Discussion: Enjoying books in all their forms

This post is something a little different, something I hope will become a bit more of a feature in the future here on L-Space books. Rather than a rundown on the books I have read and my thoughts on them, this post is aimed at generating discussion between you, the readers, and myself. And I really do hope you will all join in and engage.

20150702_061011In the beginning, some bright spark – a German goldsmith by the name Johannes Guttenberg – invented the printing press. This allowed mass production of pamphlets, literary material and books. Okay, so maybe a large portion of the global population was mostly illiterate at the time, it still sparked the birth of the printed word. This was around 1440. And things continued in printed form for quite some years to follow.
Nearly 500 years in all. In the 1930s, full-length novels started to get record onto long play records. This was done for people with visual disabilities – primarily war-blinded soldiers from the First World War, and those blind who could not read braille. Spoken word recordings of literature were made during the 1950s for mass release. But it wasn’t until the 1970s that audiobooks as many think of them came to be. It was at this point, the first cassette audiobooks came onto the market.

And then, of course, technology evolved even further in the decades that followed. Now e-books enter the fray. A form of written word book that is produced in an electronic format. These can be read on computers, and in more recent years, e-readers, tablet devices and smartphones. These allow a book hundreds, or even thousands of pages long to be contained and carried in dedicated devices only a few millimeters thick, and a fraction of the weight of the physical book. They also mean vast libraries of books can be stored, transported and accessed at a moment’s notice.

So that’s the background, thanks for bearing with me. And here’s where the discussion starts. I am a member on a number of book and author-related forums and social media groups. I see a large number of comments and memes relating to e-books and e-readers. Or more to the point, how you aren’t a real bookworm if you use such devices. Many are posted in jest, maybe to get a rise out of others, but a few posts are genuine. There are similar numbers of posts regarding audiobooks and how they are wonderful for people who cannot read or have conditions restricting their ability to hold a full-length book.

That’s a fair point, but surely e-readers also hold similar benefits. Fair point, they are no good to those who cannot read, but they can still be helpful to those who can’t hold a full book but can hold these devices briefly. And here’s the added bonus, compared to film adaptations or audiobooks, you are still reading the written word.

I treasure my Kindle higher than many of my other possessions. It means I have entire book series’ on hand. 40 or so books of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series? The whole of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series? All in one compact device that I can carry with me and access almost anywhere. and thanks to smartphone and tablet apps, I can read in even more situations, where I may not have my Kindle. If someone tried to take it from me, I may just commit a capital crime. And do you know what? I’d welcome the solace to read, I’d ask the prison warden to put me in solitary as long as I could keep my Kindle with me.

BUT – I. Still. Own. Books. That’s right, you really can have your cake and eat it. Sometimes my Kindle isn’t appropriate – comic books, graphic novels and so on. I have a shelf in my front room, lined with special edition books. I will hold my hand up, I don’t read these, that’s where I have my Kindle versions. But they certainly aren’t museum pieces never to be touched. I take them down from time to time, to look at the beautiful covers, open them, feel the pages, smell that smell that only books have, enjoy them. Some are signed copies of favourite books and authors. But these weren’t bought to sell on in years to come for profit. They weren’t bought to pass on and be kept in darkness. They take pride of place in my home, for me to enjoy. To take down and look at, and smile.
20150702_065830In this modern world, why can’t I read books on a Kindle and still be a bookworm? I still love the words, the stories, the worlds created as much as I would in a real book. I enjoy the people, the locations, the vivid images the words produce. At the end of the day, isn’t that what reading and being a book worm is really all about?

Do you use a Kindle or similar device? Do you listen to audiobooks – whether because of health conditions, or in the car or gym? Lets have a discussion, use the comments section below to let me know your thoughts. I want to hear from as many of you as possible and get a conversation going! 🙂

6 thoughts on “Discussion: Enjoying books in all their forms

  1. Have to agree with you that it is not the format that matters, just the act of reading and enjoying a well written book. The argument in my family used to be that hardbacks were better than paperbacks even though the contents are identical.
    Since I bought my Kindle I have found that I am reading a wider selection of books than before which has to be a good thing. This is partly due to the fact that they are cheaper and I do not feel that there is so much of a financial risk in trying new authors. Also the ability to read a sample of the book makes it easier to pick titles that I feel I will enjoy.
    In conclusion I would say read books in which ever format you prefer and continue reading for as long as it gives you pleasure


  2. To read, is to take me to another dimension of my imagination, impart understanding, give me laughter, affect my emotions and to comfort me better than chocolate.
    To write is like experiencing magic, travelling and arriving at a destination without a map or a clue how you got there just knowing it was a wonderful experience.
    I am no snob of the written word as I will take my high in whatever format I can get. Except there is something rather delicious about the smell, erotic about the texture and compelling about the ownership of BOOKS. I have a library of them. Like a pen on paper is better than fingers on a keyboard. It is immediate, it is present and it is personal. Books give me something that technology never can, they are like trusted friends. Worn loved jackets, personalised yellowing pages and evocative aromas. Counted on when it’s just you, the book and firelight.


    1. Fantastically put Laura. I totally agree. A physical book, dog-eared, battered, covers hanging off are loved. Loved to death, touched by hands that treasure them.

      But that does not in my view make someone more a bookworm than those who use a Kindle. Tech can be soulless but the words they convey into my mind have a life of their own 🙂


  3. I totally agree with what Laura so eloquently wrote. Conversely I had an English teacher who always said that a book is like a hammer, you don’t buy a hammer and use it once. By the same token there are many types of hammer, why not many types of book? Use each as it is needed, I am retired and can find time to read ordinary books but can quite understand people wanting instant access without carrying a massive library with you.


  4. I also have a kindle which I would kill for should anyone think of taking it, I also love it for the same reasons as you have stated, very convenient to store many books on and I am able to download many of my favourite classics etc. having said that, there is something special about opening a book up, the smell of a new book and the crack of the spine are very satisfying in a way you cannot get from the kindle, I also love to see a complete collection of books on my bookcase, i.e. the complete works of Dickens, to just be able to see them all there in there matching covers gives me a good feeling, having said all that you cannot beat the convenience of a kindle when on holiday or hospital etc. and not having to take several heavy books with you!


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