Whenever I recall my last summer, I think about my family sitting together in a strangely silent way with my father focusing on online newspapers, my mother concentrating on romances, and me reading online fiction. It is the age of digital books in my family now. The golden days of printed books have passed. Compared to digital books, printed versions are too heavy and inconvenient. For instance, I have to carry the hard copy of The Tastemakers I just borrowed from Walsh Library all the time, in case I want to read it. Its digital version, on the contrary, is easily accessible everywhere and anytime. I can read it via my iPhone, my laptop, or school computers without worrying if I have a hard copy or not.
Even though convenience is one of the main reasons attracting my family to digital books, I always miss those good old days when my parents and I kicked back on our black couch with “real” books. I find printed books not only easier to focus on but also more enjoyable to read than digital ones. The hard copy of The Tastemakers has a plain white cover and a bold black title on its side, simple and artistic. One thing I love most about this book is its texture: thick paper in a soft creamy white color, which seduces me into touching it over and over. The smell of ink floating in the air has a magical power to calm me down in this fast-paced world. Reading the book in a warm orange light at night gives me a peaceful and pleasant feeling. The hard copy creates a private space, which shuts down chaos and noise from outside. I know this is my book’s own way of communication, as if it is whispering, slow down a little bit, honey. The digital version of The Tastemakers, , on the contrary, is more aloof. Compared to the hard copy, its electronic version has a garish cover with fancy pictures on it. However, the bright light of its background strains my eyes, the button for “next page” pushes me to scan the content, and the webpage frame induces me to surf the Internet instead of reading. Each time I open this e-book, I feel like it is screaming, quick, idiot, you are running out of time! I am frustrated that I can’t find a connection with this e-book; it distracts me away from itself easily.
Though the golden age of printed books is fading away, I stubbornly stick to the private and pleasant reading experience hard copies create for me. With a hard copy on my hands, I am peaceful, focused, and engrossed. However, it is true that both printed and digital books have their unique and indispensable qualities. Choosing between them may simply depend on people’s own experiences and preferences. I have no trouble reading daily news on my mobile app. But if I want to settle down to read a book, my superior choice will be a hard copy, undoubtedly. Even though electronic books have become a new fashion, I believe printed versions won’t disappear. Printed books are like unassuming friends we knew since we were young. E-books, on the contrary, are more like fashionable city girls we just met in college. How can we break up with our old companions simply because we make cool new friends?