There’s something about the experience of reading real books. As much as I enjoy the ease and convenience of audiobooks and e-readers, at the end of the day, they’ll never be able to replace the joy of reading an actual physical book.
To the bookstore
It starts at the bookstore. Being able to walk through the aisles. Perusing sections you’d normally never explore. Weaving in and out of rows as you pass by countless possibilities and stories just waiting to be picked up. For me, the experience is relaxing, exciting, and filled with nostalgia—all in one.
And while there’s something to be said about having the world of books at your fingertips online, every once in a while it’s nice to take a trip out to a local shop to see recommendations and finds I wouldn’t have discovered on my own.
The act of reading
The whole act of reading real books is different, too. The weight of holding one in hand as I crack it open for the first time. The feel of the pages moving under fingertips as I journey with the characters, immersed in the narrative adventure of new worlds in times of past, present, and future.
Physical copies offer freedom. I can easily reference back to past moments to reread favorite lines, to remember a character, to experience a previous scene with new clarity. I’m no longer confined to the linear path encouraged by audio and e-books; instead, I’m allowed as many rewinds and lookbacks as I want—without the worry of having to search again for my current spot. Not to mention the rewarding feeling I get seeing the visual representation of my progress marked by the position of a bookmark—apparent even when the novel is closed.
What brings me the most joy from reading real books, though, is the communal quality they have. My favorites shared with friends, each leaving notes and highlights (at my encouragement, as someone who myself loves writing in a novel), documenting their own experiences, thoughts, and reactions to a text. The collective contributions making the piece truly one of a kind, giving it meaning and memory beyond the plot points.
This is what makes the experience of reading real books so special. The story continues on after the author has finished penning the text—physical books have their own story that’s just waiting to be written.