Nothing can replace the sentimental value of reading hardcopy books

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By Gracious Madondo

For genuine book lovers, reading a book is extremely satisfying. Either reading for educational purposes or reading for pleasure, books have the ability to sharpen one’s intellect, arouse empathy and open a new window to the world. 

Digital technology has, however, shattered the value and significance of books as part of life. The reading pleasure that comes from turning the pages of a good book has thus died and so has the culture of reading books. 

As my old university English literature lecturer, the poet Musaemura Zimunya once said, “There is nothing that beats the smell of the pages of an old book”.  

He was not only expressing his passion for literature, but the sentimental value of books, something that I sincerely relate to. 

For true readers and literature lovers, the smell of old books is just a bonus, but the ability to read the book from start to finish and learn something new is the ultimate goal.

Today, reading a book is regarded by many as being old-school and archaic.

 This is mainly because of the availability of soft copy books from the internet and portable devices that can contain over a thousand books all at once. 

Digital technology has not only depleted the sentimental value of books, but it has also killed the reading culture. 

The advancements in digital technology simply reflect the death of the reading pleasure. 

Television, internet and social media have replaced the need to read a book. 

Answers and book summaries are readily available on the internet and this has created a wave of non-readers who do not appreciate or value the importance of reading directly from the original source. 

Today’s modern society has become more and more reliant on technology in almost everything. Technological advancements are now being adopted in all aspects of life and schools have adopted the use of the internet in order to groom the child for the technology that now dominates life today. 

Libraries are now dominated mostly by computers and bookshelves have been pushed to the back with books gathering dust as mere decorations in library halls.

Although digital technology is making work, communication and studying easier, it is also one of the main reasons why people do not find the need to read books. 

Almost all the books ever written can now have a digital version that can be easily accessed on the internet. These have also come with a portable device which can contain more than a thousand books. 

Although visuals are quite functional in learning, novel, play or autobiography’s adaptations do not always capture everything from the book accurately and not every book has an adaptation. 

The reality, however, is that the availability and easy access of books from the internet does not guarantee the readership of the books. 

In the past, great stories could only be found between the pages of a book although films and movies were done based on books people still found the reasons to read books from cover to cover.

Great stories, real life heroes and answers to homework could only be found in books and no other could retell the story better than the writer. 

Digital technology has brought together almost all of the information in literature and has it compressed on the internet in various media forms. Everything can be accessed on electronic news, filmed documentaries easy to access and easy to read due to language simplicity and summary form. 

On the other hand books contain comprehensive information that is unedited and authentic. Countries’ cultural and history is contained in books. 

Books may require effort, concentration and attention but the feeling and knowledge acquired from a single book is great and worth the effort. 

Reading from books regularly not only stimulates the thought of mind but also sharpens intellect and understanding. 

Adaptations, audio books and summaries are easily available and one would simply choose to watch the book’s adaptation, documentary or simply Google the summary of the book on the internet a study and research culture that is destroying the significance of reading books. 

Modern technology simply means people miss out on the reading pleasure of a book. 

A general analysis shows that today most people only read books for educational purposes than for the pleasure or knowledge acquisition. 

Reading books is a priceless activity that has vast health and psychological benefits like enhancing knowledge, reducing stress, improving memory, improving imagination and developing critical thinking skills and more.

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