07/01/2012

Non merci/No Thanks


Le livre numérique gagne du terrain, et ce n'est sans doute qu'un début. Certains parmi mes amis ont d'ores et déjà fait le grand saut, et s'en félicitent. Mais la révolution se fera sans moi. Je suis bien conscient qu'un jour viendra où je n'aurai plus le choix, et où je devrai m'adapter. Pour l'instant toutefois, je me cramponne à mes livres-papier.

Luddisme? Peut-être, et je ne le prends d'ailleurs pas comme une insulte. Mais le désaccord est essentiellement d'ordre "esthétique": je suis incapable de dissocier le support du contenu. J'aime une belle maquette, l'odeur et la sensation du papier et même s'ils ne me feront pas aimer un mauvais livre, ils participent à leur manière unique et irremplaçable de l'expérience de lecture. Les livres électroniques à l'inverse et quelque soient leurs nombreux avantages pratiques, sont avant tout des textes désincarnés*. A certains cela ne pose pas de problème (le nombre de gens qui considèrent le livre papier comme un simple support dont ils se passent sans problème ne cesse jamais de me surprendre) mais moi je ne peux pas, tout simplement. A chacun ses goûts, donc. Pour le moment.

E-books are all the rage now and it's only the beginning. Some people I like and respect have already made the jump and they say it's great. But as far as I'm concerned, it's still "no thanks". I know that sooner or later I'll no longer have a choice and I'll have to adapt - but in the meantime I prefer my books the old way.

Luddism? Maybe, and it's not a dirty word to me. But the core of the disagreement is an "aesthetical" one: I cannot dissociate the medium from the content, and the former is integral to my enjoyment of the latter. I love a beautiful cover art, I love the feel and smell of paper and while they can't make up for a poor book they enhance my reading experience in an unique, essential way. E-books on the other hand, no matter how their practical advantages, are texts devoid of any physical incarnation and while it can work for some (The number of people who don't need physical books nor care for them is a perpetual source of puzzlement for me) it doesn't for me*. To each his own. For now.

* Même s'il m'arrive d'en lire à l'occasion quand je ne peux pas faire autrement.

* Though I read them when no other option is available.


3 commentaires:

John a dit…

Hear, hear! I share your feeligns about real boosk as opposed to virtual ones. I also have similar feelings toward so many of the POD reprints. So many are sloppily assembled, poorly designed, badly proofread. I wonder if the eBooks are littered with typos and spatial issues. I'm sure they are.

I'm still waiting for the hackers to discover this new digital world where they can wreck havoc as they do with email and websites. It'll happen and when it does people will be losing their libraries with a simple misguided click. At least I'll still have my library of real books.

Patrick a dit…

Xavier, I admit it's odd to hear me say this (well, see myself typing these words at least) but I've actually gotten quite fond of my Kindle.

For instance: when Paul Halter's "The 7 Wonders of Crime" came out, I already had a copy, and I didn't particularly want to spend $20 for another one. But it was a Paul Halter novel-- I might as well put my money where my mouth is and support one of my favourite authors in the translation attempt. It gave me a cheaper option to read the translation and comment on the quality of it (because several small changes had to be made in translation).

All right, so I'm cheap. What other factors are there? It's a user-friendly system. I hate the gadgets that have a multitude of buttons that seem designed only to make the reader lost in the gadget's informational maze. I don't use the web browser on it very often, I just read. And it's fine with that. There's no annoying pop-ups or anything of the sort. It's like a regular, quiet reading experience.

Finally, I like having the option to read PDF files on there. It came in very handy when I was studying for exams. After a while of staring at the computer screen, my eyes hurt, and I didn't feel like priting off 200 pages of review material. Kindle offered a good compromise.

BUT... all that said, I prefer a "real" book any day. When Curt Evans' book comes out, I will first try to order a physical copy. There's just something about actually turning the page that you can't beat. As for the recent rise of POD books, I like having cheaper, affordable editions. I buy my books to READ them, not to collect them. So maybe that's why I don't mind so much-- after all, my most prized books are a 1st edition of FEAR IS THE SAME and the Thriller Book Club edition of WHISTLE UP THE DEVIL. Neither is a particularly impressive catch for the avid book collector, but I don't mind.

Yet even for a Kindle, I couldn't rest until I'd bought a cover for it that made it look more like a real book. I can put it on my shelf now next to my other books, and that suits me just fine.

What Dr. Sigmund Von Hornswiggle will make of that, I can't tell.

J a dit…

Thanks for this. I see my beloved books going away, and I don't like it...