As a traveller with hungry appetite for books I appreciate eBooks. I can carry a whole library on my ereader without increasing the weight of my backpack. Recently, however, I picked a book by Slavoj Žižek called Event from a private bookshop as I had free time, a rare event in itself. Perhaps the traditional atmosphere of the bookshop with everyone browsing and talking about the books made it hard for me to resist. I got the physical book and as I sat to read it I wondered if reading a physical book is just about reading or is it a social action. We open our interests to others by reading a physical book whether sitting in a cafe or receiving visitors at home. It doesn’t take long before a fellow traveler notice the book and human curiosity bring them over to share the table to ask about the book, the author, my opinion and to share theirs. My rational self argues that all is replaced by its digital age equivalence on review websites, blogs, twitters, etc. But now I wonder if they are really equivalent or an important part of experience of the physicality of the book and of the contact is missing. After all you cannot argue with a review on a website over coffee, invite them to the bookshop to prove your point, continue over dinner and share wine and laughter. The best you can do with a digital review is to respond with another review!
July 2, 2017