I have always loved books; as a child, a book fair at school was pure heaven. The book store was even better! I was a library-card holding book worm! My books became cherished items – just as much or more so – than my toys. When I was 12, I asked for a dictionary for Christmas, and was uber delighted in this huge, mammoth book of words that Santa delivered. I still have that dictionary.
Words, words, words. My entire career has been built around words. I am a lover of the printed word. My bookshelves overflow with way too many books and not enough shelves. The books are three rows deep! And all over the place.
So when the Daily Post posed the question of whether we prefer eBooks over printed books (and to blog about it, thus, this post), my mind became a quandary. I am torn. I love both.
Honestly, I did not think I’d ever like reading on an electronic device – and resisted doing so for quite some time. And a disclaimer here: I love my technological gadgets! But I thought “there’s no way I’d ever like this over a real book.” And then my hubby gave me an electronic reader. I found it … easy to use!
And easy to buy books! Holy smokes, I can buy a book on this device and be reading in less than a minute! I don’t need storage space on my bookshelves for this book. And when I finish said book in less than three days, guess what … I can order another one! Painless ordering. Talk about instantaneous gratification, I am spellbound. I am hooked.
I don’t even want to know how many books I breezed through over the course of just last year. Most of them were on the technological gadgets – note that plural use – and found that I enjoyed it. I could purchase a book on one device and read it on multiple gadgets, even my computer!
But I felt like I was cheating.
Seriously! Because with an eBook, I can read anything, at any time, buy a book at 3:22 in the morning if I want, read that book in the dark because my iPad, iPhone, or Kindle Fire are all back lit. No need for lights or tiny book lights. I can prop up my device and read hands free!
But I’m not shopping in the local bookstore. Where I live, we have already lost Borders, a Barnes & Noble, and a Books A Million. I love book stores! I love perusing book cover designs, it’s the artwork or the wording that normally lures me. It’s kind of hard to do that on an electronic device (even if you do see a thumbnail image).
I don’t ever get a chance to put my imprint on that printed book if I’m reading it as an eBook. There’s something beautiful about a book that has been read many times, with all of its cracks in the spine, the worn edges of pages, the whiff of old book smell. It’s kind of hard to experience that on an electronic device. (I’m not holding my breath for the invention of eSniff devices!)
So I’m truly torn in claiming devotion for either the eBook or printed book. Although there are so many advantages of the eBooks (that instant dictionary feature by clicking a word is awesome, by the way), I feel disloyal to those printed relics crammed on my bookshelves.
Last week I took my 10-year old son to the book store, relishing the fact that he requested to go, and enjoyed a good meandering through the racks and racks of that printed word. Words, words, words, I can’t get enough!
I picked up the Life of Pi and quickly knew it would be accompanying me home, regardless of if there’s space or not on the overflowing bookshelves. I won’t be able to read it at night without a light, can’t look up a word just by clicking it, and I’ll have to actually turn the page. But I think I can live with that.
I can’t wait!
P.S. Please don’t tell my books but I plan on reading on my eBook devices again. 🙂