Just when I was sure I'd said every positive thing I could say about eReaders, and more specifically, my Kindle, Amazon comes out with an ad that focuses on kids and their love of reading. It caused me to wonder if my own reading habits would have been any different had eReaders existed during my youth. I've concluded that the answer is yes and no. In the end, what it comes down to is a love of reading. Books are the ultimate transportation device into the imagination.
Summer was my favorite time of year to read when I was a child. That may sound odd, since most people prefer a more active lifestyle during the warmer weather, but I've never been much of an outside person. As a kid, the real world didn't hold a candle to the adventures that awaited in a good book. I have distinct memories of walking into town to visit the library once school was out for the summer. Just thinking about it, I can almost smell the scent of air conditioning, wood and old books. There is a smell that goes with that, I assure you. And my Kindle doesn't smell like that. None of my books smell like paper anymore, now that I own a Kindle, so I get some people's resistance to eReaders if it's a matter of the feel of paper between their fingers and that musty aroma of aged literature. And I can't display my books proudly on a shelf either, but my aversion to clutter has always contrasted greatly with my need to own books and movies, so I refuse to complain about that. I like having most of my books in one device. In fact, that would've been a dream come true as a child. A magic book that had all the books in it? Amazing.
Going back to the Kindle ad, what I love most about it is that it not only takes me back to my own youth, when I was just beginning my lifelong love affair with reading, but it also taps into the timeless quality of reading, regardless of the method. Whether the book is on paper or a device, once the story begins, a child will be transported into whatever world the author has designed for them. Their perspectives and imaginations will alter the picture, which means no book is exactly alike for any two readers. And if the book has done its job, the child won't soon forget the experience of reading it. They'll carry the memory of the story and how they felt about it into their adolescence and adulthood.
And the ad emphasizes the benefit of changing font size, which I think is one of the bigger sells for Kindles among children and the visually impaired, but that's just an aside. I'm also a big fan of audio books, so I love the Whispersync for Voice feature.
Whether its from a paperback or hardcover book or an eBook, I hope the ad inspires parents to encourage their kids to read, and inspires kids to pick up a book once in a while.