Sometimes I forget how much I love to hold a real book in my hands.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the convenience of Kindle titles and other e-formats. Only the other week I was singing the praises of the Teach Yourself enhanced versions. A whole course – text and audio – in a single place (and it adds 0kg to my backpack weight). I still think they’re fantastic.
But sometimes you get a reminder of how satisfying old school is. I had one this week when I finally plumped for a long yearned-for hard copy of Colloquial Scottish Gaelic.
Why had I put it off for so long?
Well, there’s the price of the hard copy, for a start. £35 is a hefty commitment for a book. Especially so, considering that I had access to the electronic version for free through my university library. Not only that, but like many publishing platforms making audio content free, Routledge has put all the audio online. I could access all of the content already!
But for all that, I just wasn’t bothering to use the materials at all. Why? screams the spendthrift inside me.
Fast forward, my Amazon credit spent, and the book proudly on my shelf. I’m picking it up at every opportunity, having a quick nose here and there when I notice it, sitting down for half an hour’s mooch through the pages. I’m even listening to those audio materials and reading along, finally.
So what is so different?
It’s hard to put your finger on just what is so special about a real book. There’s the joy of the tangible ownership of it, perhaps. I made an investment in a thing – now I want to make the most of that thing. It’s almost like you can feel the weight of the knowledge you’ve paid for right in there.
And there’s nothing like using money (or vouchers) to feel the value of a physical object. I admit I get a bit of that as I curate a Kindle library. It’s lovely seeing the digital books line up neatly on those shelves.
But there’s something simply cosy (or hyggelig, or gemütlich etc.) about holding a real book in your hands, isn’t there?
And sometimes it takes a wee treat to yourself to remind you of that.