Paper versus digital, digial wins almost everytime

Posted by Justine Solomons on 6 June 2011, in News

Recently my Kindle broke. I hadn't read a paper book for two weeks over a year - it decided to pack up fifty-four weeks after arrival. I rang Amazon, it was just out of warranty, and they wanted to charge me £50 for a replacement, however I persuaded them that as I was such a heavy consumer of Kindle books that they shouldn't charge me...they looked at my account and quickly agreed to send one free. It would take a few days. But what was I going to read on in intervening period? Perhaps try a paperback again? How hard can it be?

So I went to one of the many bookshelves in my flat to look for a book I hadn't read yet, all those I'd acquired in the pre-Kindle days....BK (Before Kindle) or AP (After Paper)??? And I found a book that I had no memory of  getting - Kazuo Ishiguro's 'An Artist of the Floating World'. I've read lots by him before, and really enjoyed him.

I chose the book because it was slim, just 208 pages, easy to get through in a few days,  it was already at home, and therefore free, and small, plus according to the cover it had won the Whitbread Prize.  OK so I admit it a book is a beautiful thing. I like looking at it, it's almost like a piece of art in itself, maybe an antique one day, with it's gorgeous cover, Japanese mountain rising out of the clouds with a traditional Japanese street scene just beneath it, but as soon as I finish it I'll go straight back to reading on a Kindle, because, well they are just far better for reading on than traditional paper.

Why? Well here are a few Kindle case has a light so that I can read in bed while my husband dozes beside me, I've had to read lots of documents for work (I started a new job this week), and really it's a faff having pieces of paper to lug around as well as a book, books are awkward to hold demanding the use of two hands instead of one, I can take a stash of novels when I travel without worrying about weight restrictions, I don't need to find more storage for books in my flat,  I could go on and on and on..

But, and this is why I've set up Byte the Book, it was so much easier for me to choose which book to read next than it would have been on Kindle. I'd like to do something to help other people who just get stuck wondering just what to read next.


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