For as long as I can remember - okay, not quite that long, but for quite a while now I've been listening to friends, and peers laud the benefits and joys of e-reading. And I was disdainful.
I love the feel of holding a book in my hands. The smell that you get from the pages, the texture of the page, the joy of turning the pages. Everything about books. I've loved them, literally, as long as I can remember. From the first book I remember my mother reading to me (More Spaghetti I Say), up through R.L. Stein, onto the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, continuing to the likes of Jennifer Crusie, Nora Roberts, J.R. Ward...I've always loved books. As my To Be Read and Keeper shelves will attest to.
But then I started hearing about eInk. And I got curious. So I started researching, and really listening when people talked about their e-readers. I learned a lot. Most of it I'm sure I've forgotten, but the one thing that really appealed to me about e-readers was being able to take my favorites anywhere. All the time.
See, I have this problem. When I travel, I like to read. So I usually end up with my carry-on bag packed full of paperback books that I think I may be in the mood for. And I'm inevitably never in the mood for them. I always wish I had brought something else, or I'm just dying to re-read a favorite. So the idea that I could put my entire library of favorite novels onto one small device, and have them at my fingertips was supremely appealing.
The other thing about ebooks for me is that I hate reading on a computer. I look at a computer screen all day for work, and a good portion of the evening too for pleasure and writing. I don't want to read on a computer. It hurts my eyes - which are far too sensitive, but what can I do? But with eInk screens, it seemed that there was finally something that I could use, not get a headache, not hurt my eyes, and still fulfil everything I was looking for in an e-reader.
I looked at the Sony and the Kindle seriously, and dreamed about an iLiad, and have to admit that I got some very good advice from fellow readers and friends. But what sold me was the wireless feature on the Kindle. Granted it's only good in the United States right now, but that works for me. Plus I already have a small addiction to Amazon.com, so it worked for me there too.
And as my Kindle-pimp (as I call her) so perfectly put it: It changes the way you read. And she was right. I got the Kindle for Christmas, and I am so supremely happy with it, that I can't imagine what I did without it. Not only have I put my favorites (where available) on there, but I've been reading a lot of books that I never would have normally read.
I had an extensive ebook collection already. You may ask why, when I hated reading on computers, and had no e-reader....and it's a valid question. The answer is that I just love books. The stories, and worlds that they take me into - I wasn't about to ignore a whole section of published works just because they weren't in print. So I bought, and stored, and waited. Then I converted, and emailed and downloaded everything to my Kindle. It was pretty painless I must say, and it didn't cost me a dime to do.
I take my Kindle everywhere. I have it in my purse all the time - except when it's charging, or I'm reading on it. I read when I go on break at work, when I take lunch, when I take my dog to the park, and just when I'm sitting on my couch at home.
And as a person that's frequently reading more than one book, the ability to save my place in whatever book I'm reading, and switch to a new book is wonderful. It gives me a freedom I didn't have before with paper books.
I've noticed a few things while I'm reading my Kindle.
- It settles perfectly in my hands - while in the case that I rarely remove it from - and holds just like a larger paperback.
- I don't have the problems with the buttons that I've seen a lot of other people complain about. Yes, they took some getting used to, but I'm pretty comfortable with the placement now. I would like a 'previous page' button over on the right hand side - because the one on the left is a little awkward while it's in it case (and as I said, I don't really take it out of the case).
- And while I'm caught up in reading, I've raised my hand up to turn the page, just like I would a paper book. I always kinda laugh at myself, and then press the button, but that just goes to remind me how comfortable I am with it.
- I've also noticed that I read faster. And I read pretty fast to begin with. But now I'm flying through books.
- I'm also a person that keeps books in pristine condition. I have to read a book at least 20 times before you'll even see a crack in the spine. Books are treasures to me, and I treat them that way. As such, I've never written notes in books...no matter how much I would have liked to. The Kindle gives me the ability to take notes, mark passages and pages that I want to remember, and then export those notes later. That is such a bonus to me.
- There are a few minor software upgrades that I think could do the Kindle a world of good. The ability to sort the books is very limited, and I would like a way to customize that. And some minor other changes. But those can all be done via the wireless network as upgrades - if they ever implement them.
- I do have to say that as much as I love the wireless network, and being able to download books right from the Kindle device - it's a dangerous thing to my bank account *blushes*
So. Have I given up paperbacks and hardcovers? Nope. I can't do it. Can't part with them. There's still something to be said for holding a paper book in your hand, and journeying through the pages into whatever world the author has laid out for you. And I suspect this will always be true for me. I love books. And I think that one day - when everything is electronic, I'll cherish my books even more.
But I've definitely seen the light when it comes to ebooks as well. Count me as a convert.
What about you? How do you read? What do you love (and dislike) about either ebooks or regular paper books?