For the past few years my father has wanted to give me a Kindle. He knows I love reading, so this seemed, to him, to be the ideal present. I resisted though, believing I needed to stand firm and loyal to the book.
Last week I was fortunate in being able to spend time with the author Sally Gardner. She was wonderful company and seemed to be someone who lived life to the full and grasped every opportunity. She admitted to having bought a number of e-readers, wanting to try them out at each stage of their development. She talked of their benefits and their weaknesses. And when we discussed our leisure time and both exclaimed about the wonders of radio over television, I had that lightbulb moment. Now was the time for me to ask for a Kindle for Christmas!
Reading the newspaper on Sunday, my decision was confirmed. An article in the New York Times reported how parents, converted to e-books themselves, still insisted their children read physical, old-fashioned books. "It's intimacy, the intimacy of reading and touching the world. It's the wonderment of her reaching for a page with me," said one parent. "There's something very personal about a book...something that's connected and emotional," said another.
Director of the Center for Teaching Through Children's Books in Chicago, Junko Yokota believes the size and shape of the book "become part of the emotional experience, the intellectual experience."
And a study commissioned by HarperCollins in 2010 found that books bought for 3- to 7-year-olds were frequently discovered at a local bookshop, 38 per cent of the time.
So e-books don't mean the end of the book as we know it, and nor do they mean the end of bookshops. They are in fact a means of making reading, stories, books, literature more available, valuable and accessible. I'll let you know how I get on in the New Year!