E-Readers And Why I Don’t Use One

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E-Readers And Why I Don’t Use One

I don’t get the allure, but everyone I know has one. They’re on planes, at the beach, in the park, in our cars, and, yes, even in my house! My husband loves his Kindle Fire.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I love reading and I have since I was a little girl. My parents divorced when I was very young and I spent as many weekends as I could with my dad. As much as I loved my father and wanted to spend time with him, I was often bored senseless at his house while he watched endless hours of sports.

One weekend, when I was about 8, after again complaining about being bored, my dad turned to look at me and asked “Where do you want to go, Babydoll? If we could go anywhere in the world, where would you want to go?’ I thought about it for a minute and answered with the farthest place I could imagine. Daddy told me to get my jacket and get in the car. Doing as he said, I jumped in the front seat and buckled up for what I was hoping would be a great adventure. It wasn’t long before I realized there would be no adventure.

Pulling up to the local library (or Lie-berry as Daddy called it) he took me inside and told me “Babydoll, you can go anywhere in the world through a book. You can go back in time and or into the future. You can go to the bottom of the sea in a submarine or to the moon in a rocketship. You can be a beautiful princess in some exotic foreign land, or a cowboy or Indian out in the Wild West. You can do anything and be anyone through a book.”

And so began my love affair with books.

Pleasure of the Senses

For me, as with most people, reading is a pleasurable and relaxing experience. When I read a book, I find the most comfy space in my house and settle in for the long haul. I settle in for the experience of reading a book.

I enjoy feeling the weight of a book in my hands and, depending on the size, I can predict, at some point, my arm and wrist will get tired from holding the weight. I know, in order to keep reading, I’ll be forced to switch hands many, many times. I know that going in. I also know, if the first few chapters capture my attention, I’ll be up all night reading and, by the time I put it down, my neck and back will also be sore. And, believe it or not, that’s totally okay with me. For me, it’s all a part of the experience and a small price to pay for a great story.

Book-Ereader-5-PostI also love feeling the page sliding under my finger as I turn it. The sound that it makes. It’s a crinkling and swooshing sound that I can’t quite describe. But, even now, typing this, I can hear it. And being able to look at the book and, judging by the number of pages read, knowing when the plot has been set and the real suspense is about to begin. Or when the book is almost over. Feeling the sadness that inevitably comes from knowing my time with a really great character is quickly coming to an end.

And then there’s the smell of a book, especially an old one! I love the smell of an old, musty, used book. There is always more than one story held within an old book. Aside from the story told within the pages, the book itself has a history and story all its own to tell. I wonder about the other people who have held that book and turned its pages. Who were they? What drew them to this particular story? In what year did they read it, and how old were they? 

I have an incredibly old edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and I can’t help wonder who the person was that first owned it. Were they male or female? Child or adult? Did they like the story or think it was silly?

All of these things are comforting and they hold within them a sense of nostalgia for me. Using an e-reader, I would lose all of that. It would change the whole experience for me.

No Fuss, No Muss

Another great thing about my books is that I can take them anywhere and not worry about destroying an investment. If my book gets a little wet at the pool or beach, I just wipe it off or set it up to dry and never give it a second thought. Sand or dirt is also a non-issue with books. With an e-reader, I’d constantly worry about getting it wet or sand getting inside. And, it’s far easier to read a book in direct sunlight than it is an e-reader.

If I destroy or lose a book, it’s no great monetary loss. But, for most of us, losing $200-$500 for the average e-reader would be .

What Is There To Love, Anyway?

Book-Ereader-3-PostI asked friends on my fb page what they loved about e-readers and got some great feedback. The one common thread among them was that they all said they have been able to read books they would have never read had it not been for the ease and the immediateness of downloading. And that struck a chord with me.

I can’t tell you the number of books I’ve wanted to read but, because I didn’t find the time to go by the bookstore or library, I never did. Usually, by the time I do make it to the bookstore, I’ve forgotten the title or author.

Another friend pointed out that while she hesitated to buy her 9 yr old daughter an e-reader because she wanted her to do as she had done as a kid and fill her room with books, she found when her MIL bought one for her anyway, her daughter still brought books home and loved reading them, as well.

That made me think about my home. Books are a big element in my own decorating. We turned our upstairs loft into a library with bookcase after bookcase lined with old favorites I couldn’t bear to part with, as well as new ones I’ve yet to read. Like my friend with her daughter, I can’t imagine my home without books.

Knowledge Is Power

While I can’t imagine totally replacing my paper books with an e-reader, I can appreciate the technology. Because we only have one computer, my laptop, we were constantly fussing over it. While I use the computer for everything, David simply wanted to surf the net and watch youtube so it didn’t make sense to buy another laptop. An e-reader or tablet made the most sense for him. So, two years ago I bought him the Kindle Fire as a Christmas present.

Now, having had the experience with the Kindle, talking with my friends who also use e-readers, and knowing more about the technology, I’d love to have a tablet. Specifically, an Ipad. Although no electronic device could ever replace my books, it would be far more convenient than lugging my laptop on vacation with us. I could take it with me on vacation anywhere in the world and live blog our adventures without the hassle of juggling a heavy laptop through the TSA checkpoints. And I could upload and edit pictures and share them instantly from anywhere. 

Final Thoughts

After talking with my friends who use e-readers I know I’ve softened my stance on them. Initially I saw them as the demise of my beloved books. Now, after conversations with friends who own them, I’ve come to realize they haven’t replaced books in their lives or home, they’ve simply given them additional access to stories they would have likely never known or had an opportunity to know.

Book-Ereader-1-Post

As an avid reader, I can’t knock anything that promotes reading. Especially with children.

So while I know it will never replace my love of a real paper, bound book, I’m more open to trying e-readers. Especially if I can gain instant access to a book I’ve been wanting to read. 

Tell me what you think about the debate of books vs e-readers. Do you use an e-reader? How do they compare to books and have they changed the experience for you?

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Comments

2 Responses to “E-Readers And Why I Don’t Use One”

  1. Sarah
    April 23, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Well written!! I am glad you gave the view from all sides! You know I LOVE my kindle. While unpacking boxes that have been in storage for three years I hit the mother load of books I read as a kid. I am sure you can imagine the memories that came flooding back to me. My night time routine with the kids takes between 30-45 minutes because I still read to each child alone. I can’t wait to start reading some of these books!

    • Melissa
      April 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks, Sarah. I know you love books as much as I do and I totally appreciate the reasons you use an e-reader. I honestly think I’m going to download a couple to David’s Kindle and see for myself how it compares.

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