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I became a proud owner of a Kindle a couple of days ago. I, candidly, don’t know how I came into possession of such an extraordinary book. When I look hitherto on the events, there was just a lot of talk, some conferring and suddenly on Thursday my father hands to me a notebook with leather covers and tells me to put it in my room. Out of curiosity, I opened it up and there it was my brand new Kindle. I have never before if held in my hands a gadget of the sort and I wasn’t even sure whether I was keen on having one. I am a paper book person. I love the very experience of going to the library and rummaging through each section, through every shelf and drawer in every hall and corner. And after you’ve spent round an hour in this sanctum, smelling of old yellow paper and smudged ink, you catch the bus and open the book, turning the very first pages with great diligence until you get absorbed in the adventure and forget that you’re even holding a bulk of stained sheets. It is one of the most rewarding parts of reading, but nonetheless it has its drawbacks.

You’ve probably heard the whole sermon over and over about the inconvenience amazing but hefty books cause by weighing a lot, or taking too much space, or, of course, stripping you off the ability to carry another masterpiece with you in case you finish this one. I have another case in point, though. The local library, my membership to which goes back to 2000, has restricted funds, and hence a very vast variety of books, dating the 90s. Scarcely any modern work of a contemporary artist has been added to the dusty collection for the past 2 years or so. That’s why I have resorted to reading pdf formats on my laptop which is anything but healthy for my blurred vision and yet-to-be-admitted want of glasses. I know that by now the question “Then why don’t you buy books yourself?” has inevitably popped into your mind. The thing is that I seldom reread books. The only ones I have actually read over again are “Harry Potter”. “The Hunger Games” and “The Fault in Our Stars” – my obsessions, so to say. What’s more, since I read in English, there are few people that can later make some use of my enormous collection because most of my acquaintances shutter at the suggestion of tacking a book in its original language. So most of my copies of great work I have acquired in some way or another end up in an abandoned battered box under my bed, never to be flicked through again in all likelihood. I know that this confessions is heart-rendering and offensive to the paramount world of books and that’s probably the reason I am blushing right now. No book deserve to be befallen by such horrendous fate that I have destined mine to. However, to make up for my horrid deeds in the present, I will open a bookstore of my own in the future and treat every single copy with great homage and adulation. So, now you see, why a Kindle would be of good use to me – I can download as much books from the web as I want to whenever I want to and keep them for as much as I want to. Too may wants in the last sentence but I made my point clear.

Anyway, what is perhaps the most thrilling part of getting a new IT gadget for me, is the first interface with it. I love having to tackle an innovative software and figure out all the shortcuts and secret passages on my own. I seldom read the instructions before I start using a product. I’d like to fathom out my way around it first and then I skim through them just to make sure I haven’t skipped something in my exploration. My Kindle is one of the simplest. It has no Text-to-Audio, or mp3 player since my cell phone offers these extras. Also it is one of the “Special Offers” kind which some people find agitating but I love. Instead of using dots or stars as a screensaver, diverse advertisements take over the screen as soon as you put the machine away. I never know what awaits me when I pick it up again. Plus, most ads are about books – when I see a plot that interests me I just go to GoodReads and mark it as to-read, so that I don’t forget it. I have wi-fi, yes, but I don’t mean to use it since I have both a laptop and a smart phone which are actually multi-coloured. Books are for reading, not surfing. It just gnaws on the battery. The experience is more authentic than I expected and I enjoy how every time I move on to the next page, traces of letters from the previous paragraphs are displayed on the screen, as if someone has been pressing the pen too hard against the piece of paper and it has left marks on the ones below it in the heap.

The E-ink fascinated me. Instead of emitting light as PCs and cell phones do, it reflects light just as every single object in the word. This makes the screen look so genuine – as though it is not made of plastic or glass but of real crumbling paper. I couldn’t help but wonder how does it work. How on Earth do they inject ink in the screen and then make it disappear and reappear so many times? Is there an ink-supplier somewhere in that tiny piece of equipment. And every time I turned it on, these questions were mobbing my mind and precluding me from concentrating on the book. So I decided to google it,highly dubious that I would, in fact, understand anything about its mechanism but I did! So here’s the gist. There are two companies working on this project – E-Ink of Cambridge and Xerox in Palo Alto. They are using different means to the same end but their methods are quite similar. In 1970 Nick Sheridan part of the latter research invented the electronic paper which was an astounding breakthrough that led to advance in the electronic ink project as well. What’s so special and unique about this kind of ink, is that it can be used on all surfaces. You can have E-Ink wallpapers at home and changed the outlook of your house whenever you like, which would boost the income of interior designers exponentially. You could have T-shirts with E-Ink which would awesome for you can create your own designs and stamps, and wear a one-of-a-kind outfit. The only disadvantage is that you probably wouldn’t be able to wash it, so they’d be like razors – you wear them once, sweat all over them and throw them out, which would lead to an economic crisis in due course. Nevertheless, I’d love to have one of those!!! Anyhow, digital books use ultra-thin plastic and are currently working only with white chips and blue ink but are attempting at multicolour displays (I’d love to learn how they’d invent this one without the emission of light; it would be a brilliant mechanism). The ink covers the entire page which is separated by cells like on graph paper, which are actually analogous to the pixels in the screen of your laptop. Each cell is connected to microelectronics. Now comes the arduous part. There are million of tiny microcapsules filled with ink or oily substances and pigmented chips with a negative charge are flying inside those microcapsules. When an electrical charge is applied to the microcapsule, the chips will either rise or fall. When push to the top, the capsules look white (negative charge), when they are pulled to the bottom the viewer only sees dark (positive charge). Alternating white and dark, rising and falling chips, the system is capable of forming letters, words and whole sentences.

And when you take into account the fact that the Chinese invented ordinary paper 105 A.D an eBook seems so exceptional and ground-breaking (most people look down on it as a superior version of a phone but inferior to a tablet). Had it not been the Chinese, books might still be printed on silk scrolls making literacy available only to the affluent members of society. Thus, depriving all bookworms of their sole solemn passion for reading. Thank you, Chinese people for making my life so much more adventurous and enrich my sentiment towards the world! And I am apologize for not being adept at distinguishing you, people, from the rest of the Asian nations. Still that doesn’t foil my gratitude!



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