(A diary entry from Sidharth Vardhan
First written on February 13, 2020)
There are different kinds of book lovers. There are those who will tell you in detail how physical hard copy paper books are what they love most. The smell of it, new ones, the paleing colors of pages. On and on. The soft copies just don’t give you that feeling. And oh! Don’t you dare touch their books?
But it seems to me that such love is too materialistic if books were humans that would be like loving the body instead of the soul – only worse; there are some defenses for loving the body of a person. Read Lady Chatterley’s Lover. What excuse though you might have for loving the hard copy of a book over a soft copy? What smell? That of wood of a dead tree? If pales because it rots! Understandable that you have developed attachments to books that fell in your way. But to go looking for new hard copies?
To prefer ebooks is to be eco-friendly, fewer trees dead. It is cheaper, if you buy ebooks you cut only on the income of those operating in business of dead trees. The writer will still get his income.
Even for those hard copies that I do possess, I won’t mind giving them away after I am finished with them. I won’t even mind if you are reckless with them and tear pages while trying to be finished with them. The physical of the book is a mere tool (not much unlike reading devices for ebooks). And we must be allowed to be reckless without tools in order to be able to fully focused on the product of value – the experience of reading. The value is in your reading not in a mere collection of papers.
And even if you do love a hard copy, it seems to be an unhealthy possessiveness to let it rot under lock rather than let it do for others what it did for you. Aren’t you polygamous with your books? Let your books be polygamous with its readers.
It’s a shame the ebook revolution failed. People just couldn’t get rid of their material tendencies. But perhaps the revolution arrived too early for its a success. The ebook readers had not yet fully worked on dark reading modes and publishers were guilty of keeping their price as high as soft copies despite the difference of costs involved.
Copyright – Sidharth Vardhan