You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them. – Mohandas Gandhi
Boy, aren’t WE reading? This is practically proven by the countless eReaders available in the market. Exactly the gadget that combines my love for books and innovative thingamajigs. I left a library in my parents’ house in the Philippines and already accumulated a lot more books during my two-year stay here in the lowlands. My husband is, fortunately for me but unfortunately for the space we have, also a book lover. The last time we purchased books from Amazon, we added about ten more books to our collection.
Getting into the eReader craze
A week into that book buying, I read a column of Conrado de Quiros about the Amazon Kindle being available outside the United States. I have to admit, I have seen the Kindle in Amazon before but was not interested. I am a big fan of technology. But who would ever think that even the book can be reinvented? Digitized? I thought it was the PERFECT invention of all. It offers knowledge and is more reliable than the human memory. Unlike the harddrive, words written in books do not abandon you in a flash (well, unless you burn it!).
It is also exceptionally useful. Think about it, more than reading, where else do you use the book for? It can add height to the monitor, you can hit your mugger with it, you can practice your posture with it, I have also seen people protecting themselves from the rain with it (although, that is a no-no) and in a movie, I saw actors burning it to protect themselves from the cold (I hated that part).
Only when I read it in De Quiros’ column did I take a liking for it. Weird, but true. The way he weaves words pushes me into almost believing or doing something. I am almost voting for Noynoy Aquino.
Just imagine packing your whole library into one COOL machine (emphasis on “cool”) that is smaller than a normal book and thinner than a pencil. Just imagine being able to bring ALL (emphasis on “all”) your favorite books wherever you are – in the train, on the plane, on vacation without breaking your back. It looks like a book from the outside, especially if you use a leather cover, reads like a book with the use of eInk technology (it’s NOT an LCD!). And did I say that you can read with it for hours, days and weeks? Any book reader will surely take interest in that idea. Only, it does not smell like a book. But, really, who cares???
eReaders for students
Even Sen. Dick Gordon vouched that he will make it available for students when he wins the elections in RP this year. I am certain that any student will like the idea of having a COOL gadget (again, emphasis on “cool”) in his/her bag instead of dragging loads of century-old books. Aside from the fact that you get a mean, neat machine, you are also sure to get a copy of the book which will not literally dismantle in your hands. I studied in a public school when I was in elementary and the state of the books is so heartbreaking. It is laudable that public school students still develop a love for books. If it’s not despicable, there is not enough to cover all students.
Although I don’t think it is practical, because there are downsides to the eReader being used by students (you know, unlike the book, the eReader is not resistant to falls), I admire Sen. Gordon for thinking out of the box. I only regret that both men (De Quiros and Gordon) only referred to the Kindle when there are a lot of products in the market that can do what it does and more.
Upon thorough research of these eReaders, we decided to buy the Sony E-reader Touch Edition. It offers the same specifications like the Kindle, BUT supports more document formats. That means we are not restricted in buying books from only one place. In the case of the Kindle, that would be Amazon. And yes, you can highlight your favorite texts with it, scribble on it and listen to audio books with it.
Coupled with these better eReader choices are a lot of free books. One of the biggest collections is that of the Project Gutenberg, named after Johannes Gutenberg, the first European to use the movable type of printing, hence, the global inventor of the mechanical printing press. You cannot use these free books for Amazon’s famous product. If we want to enhance the love for reading among students, we have to offer them a bigger library of books too. Buying the machine with limited choices is like having a messenger without the message.
Technology is ever-changing. With it comes more alternatives. In this fast-paced technological world where we live in, we have to keep our eyes open for smarter choices. Putting preference to the Kindle is like saying that the only smart phone available on the planet is the iPhone. #