Christopher Farai Charamba The Reader
Technology has changed the way the world works. Some might argue for the better, making things more convenient. At the touch of a button one can know what the weather is like in Tokyo, book and pay for a holiday in Peru, have a meal delivered from their favourite Thai restaurant, get and pay for transportation without having to leave the comfort of their bed and a whole host of other things that often would require strenuous effort. Daily, human beings are finding ways to simplify their existence, be it in the home, school or at work. Some occupations don’t even require their employees to come to the office. They can work remotely from coffee shops and bars or even at home while relaxing in their undergarments.

This ease and convenience also exists in the world of literature. E-books and e-Readers such as Kindle have revolutionised how individuals can consume literature.

Gone are the days when one had to clear out a room and mount bookshelf upon bookshelf to store their vast library of reads. No longer must one stress about where to find a particular volume of a book, especially here in Zimbabwe where the price of new books is extremely pricey.

For those who consider themselves avid readers, e-books come in handy in more ways than one. This reader was a massive sceptic of e-books for a long time, preferring the feel of the pages between one’s fingers, the crisp smell of a newly purchased book.

There came a time though when I could not get my hands on a physical copy of a specific book and had to settle for the electronic edition.

One’s reading life changed on that day. The convenience of having an e-book became immediately apparent.

First, it’s light and easy to carry. The first e-book I read was on my phone, a device I carry everywhere I go. Initially it was frustrating to read on such a small screen but after a while I got used to. Later though one migrated to a tablet and then used for a while a Kindle.

Having an e-reader, many of which can be downloaded onto any smartphone or tablet, also means one can carry around as many books as they want. Gone are the days of deciding which book to leave home with or worry about where to store all the books that one buys. Entire libraries fit into one’s pocket or handbag.

E-books are also convenient in that one does not have to worry about bookmarks or damaging any of the texts. They can be easily highlighted and one can write long notes on passages they have read instantly without having to scribble in the margins.

They are also easy to access. In countries where getting certain texts might be difficult, e-books can easily be found online from sites such as Amazon, and are usually cheaper than the physical editions of the same book.

Another bonus is that one doesn’t have to worry about falling asleep with the light on when they are in bed. This happened to this reader quite often but ever since e-reader’s became a thing in one’s life, that is now a rare occurrence.

With physical books, one finds that they purchase certain texts just for the sake of having them and never get around to actually reading them. Tsundoku is the Japanese slang word for this condition.

With e-books, though, this is not an issue and I find that I get through books a lot more with an e-reader. I download the specific one I want to read at that time, finish it and move on to the next.

All this said, there is a greater preference for physical books than there is for electronic ones. The original cannot be beat, but the convenience of the modern technology is much appreciated.

Christopher Charamba is a reader of sorts. He can be found on Twitter @ChrisCharamba

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