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Are You Reading A Book Or Story?
For the sake of this article, let’s call them ‘books’, and their contents ‘stories’. I say this to silence the pedants from the outset, because there are several other variations and possibilities.
The reason that I started thinking about the subject of a book or story was because the other day, I was talking to someone who said that he was reading my book on his tablet. Being a bit of a pedant myself, I had to stop myself from saying something, not least though because I didn’t want to stem his adoration of my work.
However, what he said did get me thinking. Surely, a book is series of pages – a physical thing… something that you can put on a shelf and something you can leave to someone. In short, it can become an heirloom and even a valuable one – whether that be a monetary one, or a treasured family possession.
That is not true of an ebook though, is it? I mean even the best story in the world will never grow in value or sentiment as an ebook, because it can be copied ad infinitum and distributed freely (in most countries).
So, is it time to stop saying: ‘I’ve read your book’, when you mean ebook? I, at least, from now on, I will ask where they bought the book and whether it was the paperback or hardback.
Or do you think that that it’s nit-picking to talk of a book or story?
As an author, it is fairly valuable information to me, but to a reader, I suppose it seems irrelevant. It might even be embarrassing to reveal, as the ebook is still considered the down-market, even cheap option, although I buy ebooks if I don’t know the author, but want to try him or her out.
So, the easiest way out is to say: ‘I have read your story about…’, or you might just decide not to talk to me (on that subject, or even at all!), but that’s up to you, not me and, to be honest, I don’t care either way. As a linguist and a writer (and a pedant), I think that people should think more about the way they say things, if not about the things that they say.
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Podcast: Are You Reading A Book Or Story?