Sniffing Books and Phones Not the Same

Recently, I downloaded Google Books onto my new phone, only to find myself reading The Picture of Dorian Grey within minutes.

Now, for those of you that know me, reading a book from my phone sounds completely out of character. I love libraries and have always been against Nooks and Kindles, firmly believing that curling up to a good book engages your senses in a far better than curling up to an electronic device.

But, curling up to my phone isn’t anything new to me. Before going to bed, I am often on my Facebook, via my Android, or playing Angry Birds late at night. Even when I was younger, I remember keeping my phone close when I went to rest, as it was served as my alarm clock. Never mind I have countless memories keeping my phone close hoping I could respond to that text some boy was certain to send me at one point or another.

So far, the experience of reading Oscar Wilde’s famous, somewhat homoerotic has been interesting. Homo-eroticism aside, the mystery, intrigue and thrill of reading this book is for a second time is not entirely lost by my phone’s glowing screen. Instead, it’s almost quite like reading the book. Everything, from the page tint, to font size has the same feeling. My imagination illustrates the story in the same what it did when I had the physical book in my hand.

What isn’t engaged is my sense of smell. When I worked in the library, I belonged to a clique of book-smellers. From time to time, when an exceptionally old book came in we would all gather round to sniff it. This isn’t a drug reference, Urban Dictionary-proof that all you want, but the reality is, we were just a bunch of intellects smelling old books. And boy, isn’t that smell the best? My phone doesn’t smell. At least like books. I sniffed it to be sure.

It’s a sense that doesn’t necessarily need to be engaged while reading, but as news regarding Borders Bookstore closing it doors, and the Huffington Post and even The Daily Show talking about it, the question of bookstores and their future is up in the air. But, as I’ve learned, until phones can stink up the air like old books, books will still exist, and not just on my phone.

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