Late last week someone who loves their kindle was asking on twitter why anybody would pack physical books. I don't love kindles (or own one), but do sometimes use a kindle app on my phone. There are books on my iPad too, but although some of them have sat there for years it's very much a case of out of sight, out of mind, and I've never read anything on it.
What was interesting about the whole thing is that people so clearly prefer one or the other and for a whole range of good reasons. Part of my resistance to a kindle is the cost. I don't want to spend money on something just to spend more money on the content. I certainly don't want to depend on batteries, not losing the device, not dropping it in some fatal way, or similar.
I don't particularly enjoy reading off screens either, it just doesn't feel the same. And then there's the memories. I generally remember where I buy a book (if it's from a shop at least) and where I've read it. Neither my phone or iPad evoke the same emotional response. For some reason I also find it harder to write about books I've read on my phone.
The big difference for me when it comes to holiday books however is the ritual of choosing them. I like the discipline that packing imposes on me - I've chosen 5 books for this trip, 2 I want to finish, 2 I thought might be fun, and 1 that I've been meaning to read for a while. I'm not sure how far I'll get, I might leave some behind for my family to read if I finish them - I might buy some more.
The important thing for me was the choosing process, it was a calm half hour in the rush of getting things done before I went away, and an always welcome chance to think about my books and happily explore them. I love that process, it's the bit when the prospect of a holiday is real. Picking up a device with a virtual library on it just isn't the same for me. How about you?