Somehow or other (I do most of my Web-meandering late at night, and thus the pathways are soon forgotten, blurred by sleep), a few weeks ago I came upon the E-book Skeptic. As you may easily judge from the chosen name of his blog, he deplores the modish novelty of digital books and reading from screens. However, he has transcended the impotent mutterings of irritation that most of us make do with, and has heroically devoted himself to collating scientific research which adds rational support to his - our - instinctual rejection of this new technology. (Apparently, there are a number of studies which suggest that stuff you read on a screen just doesn't stick in the brain in the same way. My own floundering with recalling exactly what I've read on the Internet - or where exactly I've read it - perhaps offers further evidence of this phenomenon.)
The "Skeptic" has more of a personal stake in this battle than most of us, since he is a beleaguered bookstore owner in an American college town (Durham, North Carolina, as it happens, home of the well respected Duke University; a place I have visited a number of times, since one of my best friends from my own university days has been teaching at Duke for some years). I wish him well in keeping that noble enterprise going. Almost all of the bookshops I so enjoyed during my undergraduate days in Oxford - all of the secondhand ones, anyhow - have ceased to exist now; it is heartbreaking.
I am particularly in sympathy with the argument he presents about the essentially multi-sensory nature of the reading-a-book experience: selecting a particular book and page from onscreen menus and prompts just isn't as tactile as pulling a well-loved book from the shelf, feeling the weight of it in the hands, savouring the texture of the paper, its sun-fadedness, its smell.... and searching for that favourite passage marked by a turned-down page corner.
Another blogger I was reading recently (again, alas, I forget who or where or why) noted that he'd recently realised that as soon as he'd downloaded something on to his Kindle, that meant he was almost certainly never going to read it. Adding a text to your digital library may satisfy a basic curiosity about it, or some socially-mediated sense of obligation about making the attempt to find and acquire a recommended work - but read it? No. Whatever reminder features your e-book may have with which to goad you about unread purchases, they're never going to be remotely as potent as that stack of neglected books on the desk or the bedside table confronting you several times each day with your delinquency. And if it's really that much worth reading, you're going to prefer to read it in the form of a proper book - a book with presence and weight and texture and smell, and the capacity to add to the memorableness of the reading experience, to increase your ability to vividly recall that experience years hence.
I haven't done a Website of the Month pick for quite a while; but I feel the E-book Skeptic is an especially worthy pretext for reviving the series.