In working on the questions for my Table Topics Moderator role at my Toastmasters meeting I was contemplating the theme “what will you discover.” A discovery, as defined in the dictionary, is “a person, place, or thing that has been discovered.” It could also be an idea. I’m sure everyone can think of stuff we wish hadn’t been discovered or the circumstances surrounding a discovery had been different. But, as was said in a Brother Cadfael mystery, “There’s no profit in ifs,…. We go from where we stand.”
As a librarian I’m rather partial to Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of mechanical movable type printing in the 15th century. While printing was invented long before him, his machine made it easier to print books, leaflets, etc. in greater quantities than before. The older manuscripts, like the Book of Kells, are beautiful but limited quantities of those forms of manuscripts means only the elite and/or monks could have them.
When it comes to the modern e-reader, I’m of two minds about them [caveat: I don’t own one]. I’ve seen ones which friends have and while they like their e-readers and rave about them, there’s just something about the tactile and situational experience of an actual book that I’d hate to give up.
Friends and other sources indicate that it’s great being able to take a ton of books somewhere (commuting, trips, etc) without the bulk and weight of the actual texts. The font size and reader size can be adjusted to your needs and you can use it almost anywhere. Plus many e-books can be borrowed free from your public library as well as the public domain books available online.
Disadvantages include the price (a quick search showed e-readers at $100+), all of your books are in one spot so if it’s lost then you lose all of them until you buy another reader, and if you buy an e-book you can’t really look through the book first. One blogger named Robyn, succinctly listed disadvantages and advantages which I typically think of regarding e-readers.
I might have one someday but for the foreseeable future I won’t be able to afford one. Whether someone gives me one or I never get one at all, I happily continue haunting my library.