There was a phrase popular when I was at school: 'Steps back in amazement' indicating one's surprise at something. My favourite, however, has always been 'well, I'll go to the foot of our stairs', meaning the same thing. It is with these phrases in mind that I contemplate the emergence of ebooks.
For someone who loves books with the fervency usually reserved for lovers, chocolate or small children, I am surprised at how much I love ebooks. I have always loved walking into a book store and savouring the aroma of new paper; better still, the musty smell found only in those sanctuaries of ancient books, the second hand bookstore. But yesterday I walked into Borders and didn't pick up a single book. My daughter enquires incredulously, 'aren't you buying anything?' and I can only reply, 'I don't need to, I have Kindle on my ipad'. It's as if I have visited one of those Victorian spas and 'taken the waters'. 'I am cured' I want to shout, I am now immune to the wiles of Borders, Magrudys, Waterstones.
One of the chief attractions, of course, is the price. I recently bought the paper copy of the booker prize winner, The Finkler Question and it cost about 80 aed (15GBP); the ebook is 3.49GBP on amazon! Furthermore, there is the seduction of being able to 'have it now'. Anyone reading this will know that I am not the most patient of people, so waiting three weeks for Amazon to post a book out to me leaves me wandering the house in my dressing gown, growling at anyone who comes near me and repeatedly re-reading The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole in an effort to remain calm.
So, I thank you wholeheartedly, Father Christmas, for introducing this ameliorative to an addict. I may now hold my head a little higher in polite society, safe in the knowledge that I am cured of my addiction to the paperback.