Late-night reading on an e-reader doesn’t quite have the same excitement as trying to read sneakily by staying up past my bedtime, huddled under a blanket, holding a torch over my head in one hand and a paperback in the other. Sharing a link doesn’t have the same effect as lending and borrowing physical copies of books, exchanging pieces of souls. The rush of emotions caused by a misplaced bookmark or forgotten page number just cannot be compared with a ‘Download Failed’ pop-up notification. Saving pocket money in piggy-banks to invest in novels and magazines was what taught me the very basics of budgeting. No crackers, not cars, no dolls, no makeup; I spent my time traveling through the alphabet-portals found in between bound pages, accompanied by an indescribable loud silence.
In the article by Khalida Sarwari titled ‘We’ve Lost Something Important In The Age of Screens. 3D Printers Can Bring It Back’, Sari Altschuler, assistant professor of English at Northeastern University, points out that “the mass digitisation of books, magazines, and other print materials has transformed our relationship with texts. We miss out on the opportunity to learn through touch.” She also states that “Touch screens mimic the experience of physically handling a book, she said, but fall short of the real thing.”
More and more digital spaces are popping up across the Internet to provide more and more digital copies. Fewer physical copies are being published, and libraries are running low on funding and popularity. Perhaps the shift of paradigm towards vintage aesthetic and classics is a foreshadow of the next big hashtag event our generation can unanimously decide upon to bring back in trend. Fingers crossed.