Reg on e-books

Article published on March 27, 2017.

Last week (mid-March 2017) Gill Chedgey revisited the e-reader debate and Reg Seward was stirred (not shaken!) to take things further.


The debate surrounding e-readers, and real books is fraught with pitfalls supplied by both factions of the argument. I am not about to invest my time, and effort into a fruitless campaign against technology. However, can see that both sides have certain factors that enhance their capabilities, yet I tend to favour the real book scenario on a purely personal level.

Here is one reason why:

About four years ago, when I was working full time at a prestigious dock in East Anglia, I had occasion to be present at an extensive queue of heavy goods vehicles. Certain computerised documents had to be presented in order to pass the loads onto the quayside. Just about then, when everything was moving along apace, the computers crashed. Technology is rather apt to do that at inconvenient moments. Engines were turned off, and seats were dragged into the sunshine as we awaited the I.T. specialists.

One particular driver, who actually hailed from Chichester, was quite near to where I was sitting basking in the sunshine. His cab door swung open, he half turned in his seat so as to put his knees outside, ostensibly to catch some of the sunrays one supposes. He reached back inside his cab and collected an E-reader machine. He fiddled about with it until he must have selected whatever, he then placed it on his knees, and quietness reigned supreme. Only a few seconds elapsed before he swore expressively as the E-reader slipped to his cab floor, cartwheeled into the bottom of the door and fell, exploding into pieces on the concrete ground. He stared at the debris for a few more seconds, turned back into his cab and shut the door; it was obviously beyond any repair. The window was open anyway, but I saw him eventually pick up an old paperback and begin reading it.

Time passed, I had gone elsewhere by the time the computers were repaired, so I never saw him again. The bits lay there for weeks; they kept getting kicked about a bit until they got swept up. A sharp lesson there for me I thought, stick with real books, I had made my mind up.

Reg Seward
March 2017


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