‘You can’t cuddle up with a Kindle’ – Neal Zetter

Poet Neil Zetter has kindly given permission for VftL to publish this poem about his relationship with books – and why he won’t be replacing his book collection with a Kindle

You can’t cuddle up with a Kindle
Like you can cuddle up with a good book
Though it’s high tech and smart
A book is pure art
For all it’s microchip technology
And wireless connectivity
A Kindle is just IT
That can’t replace your paper friend with a heart
You can’t cuddle up with a Kindle

I’m not a Luddite
I willingly embrace the megabyte
But do we really want our bookshops and libraries to disappear from sight
And vanish like the vinyl LP
Left for dead by the MP3
With album covers we gazed at like lovers now history?
Don’t give me plugs, wires and re-chargeable batteries
You can’t cuddle up with a Kindle

A book has
Its own face
A spine
Genuine personality
When you first meet you whiff its wonderful ink
Then hold it tenderly and flick through each page
You display it on the shelf once you’ve read it
And watch it gracefully grow old as its leaves go gold with age
While an e-book just lies lazily on a hard drive
Flat, two-dimensional and never alive
Will our magazines, newspapers, comics and dictionaries survive
While this Kindle continues to thrive?
You can’t cuddle up with a Kindle

Books can carry dedications, inscriptions, indelible memories, e.g.
`To Laura, happy birthday, love Mum and Dad, 2003′
To stay with you forever and ever
And when you’re reading your novel on the train or tube
It’s so cool to be seen together
Then everyone knows that you’ve got taste
And are not just another member of the Kindle clone race
Cuddle a Kindle in public you might get mugged
But you won’t get attacked for the book that you hug
Say it proud
Say it loud
Cause you can’t cuddle up with a Kindle

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