The first book I ever loved was The Oxford Book of Latin Verse. I'm not sure how old I was. Perhaps I loved it before I could even read. Certainly I couldn't read Latin. I loved it because it was beautiful. It was small enough to hold easily (even when I had smaller hands), with plain dark blue hard covers, with the title in gold on the spine. Did it have something on the front? Perhaps the OUP colophon? I think it might have. It was thick, perhaps two inches deep, and inside, there were hundreds of thin, thin pages made of that sort of paper I associate with bibles, paper which makes a satisfying crackle as you turn the pages. The text was very small, densely packed lines of verse. I would arrange ranks of dolls and teddies, then face them, and 'read' them fairy tales from this book, sometimes with the pages turned towards them as primary school teachers do, even though there were no pictures for my pupils to look at.
I can't imagine why anyone would want to read an electronic book. I've read the reviews; I've had a look at them in shops. I understand that you can hold thousands of books at once in the palm of your hand, annotate them, send passages to friends, find words and phrases at the click of a button. But they're not books, are they? I love the smell of a book, new clean pages or fusty old paper. And the weight of it in your hand: the perfect hand-sized paperback; the tome so heavy you have to lean it on the pillow and read lying on your front; but not for me those extra-big airport paperbacks, they don't stay open like a hardback and they're too heavy for a paperback. I own some books that I know I'm never going to read. I keep them because they're beautiful.