Call me old fashioned. Call me fuddy-duddy. Call me an anti-advancist, if that were a correct term. But I really can't see the day when I settle for the likes of a Sony Reader to digest my new books.
I have no doubt that these devices are going to improve with time, and already the Sony Reader looks like a superb creation, which gives the sensation of really reading paper. I've browsed through all the advance publicity and I'm very impressed by the technology. It's not enough, however, and I fear it never will be.
Sony lists all the benefits: impressive paper-like display; lightweight; amazing battery life; memory for hundreds of books; browse, purchase and easily download.
What they can't address is the little-discussed subject of how real books seem to breathe for many people, how they seem to have personalities and accompany us through life.
I couldn't imagine my living room without one of the walls lined with books. They are not just things that I read and then forget. These books hold certain memories. I buy books when I visit places. I love it when they're signed. Books remind me of different times in my life. They have become furniture pieces as well, decor that makes me "happy in my skin", as the French would say. I really believe we can feel like we're being accompanied by books; book lovers feel better when they're surrounded by them. The bookcase is just as important as the sofa and the table.
I'm not sure that a Sony Reader or any other similar device is ever going to be able to fill that gap for me. It may be fine for those who aren't that attached to their books, who don't like to stroke and smell the covers and pages (I don't mind confessing to it) and who want something easy and convenient, to take with them on public transport, for example.
What's more, my bookcase is like a large painting, a multi-coloured mural, the tapestry of my life, which I'm adding to all the time. That must be some food for thought for the good folk at the likes of Sony. Sorry I can't offer any solutions. In signing off, I have a flash: I can see someone in the year 2086, looking back at this post in blogger's archives; he can't believe what he reads, and then he has a good old laugh as he injects his Sony Reader into his arm!