I must say after taking a module called ‘Hacking the Book’ I found myself rather bemused that we would not be looking at the creation that gave the book, in its traditional form, the biggest shake up since the creation of the internet. I am talking about the e-reader.
For some reason this is a topic that many people become instantly heated about – I can already feel the ‘angry face emoticons’ judging me with their little pixelated eyes. But, I feel I must stand my ground and proudly announce that I am a convert. I love my e-reader more than anything else I own but when I tell this to traditionalists they often get all starry eyed and ask ‘don’t you miss the feel and smell of a real book?!’ Well, no, not really.
The benefits that these tiny portable machines can bring us is a saving grace to those of us who are either forced, or ploughed on by our own initiative, to tackle books big enough to kill a man. Suddenly we are able to carry up to eight thousand of these, no matter where we go or how small our bag happens to be. We are given the opportunity to be able to download any book, anytime, anywhere and often for much cheaper than a standard bulky paperback. The moment I realised you could also download PDF files was just the cherry on an already magnificent cake.
I understand the allure of a traditional book. My Language encyclopaedias could never have the depth of information and images on a machine as they do in real life. However, in this case I believe technology really does have its place in our libraries and on our bookshelves. E-readers aren’t hacking our books – they’re just advancing them for the 21st century.