I've been thinking about this for a few months. Should I join the e-reader movement? Should I ditch my spare room full of dusty (well, some of them) books - some of which are over 100 years old - and buy a Nook or a Kindle?
This is not as easy a decision as you might think.
I love books, meaning physical books. I love how they look. I love how they smell (usually). I love their portability. You can take a book and read it on the beach. In the backyard. In a bubble bath. On a train. Anywhere except in the rain. (why do I feel like I'm channeling Dr. Seuss right now?) No charged batteries required.
You can pack a paperback in your suitcase. Or even in a large pocketbook, ready for a suitable occasion. You can read them in the sun. You can read them in the bath.
And you can get books at the library. I use the library so much I almost feel guilty about it. I even pay fines with a smile, knowing I have just contributed to the library. Ditto with library book sales, which are like chocolate to me. It's the thrill of the hunt. What will I find? I spent time last Saturday at the Ithaca, NY library book sale, and left with a smile (and $27 of merchandise).
And, most of all....at some point in time, will publishers decide to discontinue books? Will I, in a small way, help the demise of physical books if I get an e-Reader? The last thing I want is to have on my life's resume is a part responsibility for the death of traditional books. How could I live with myself?
Books are books. You don't have to worry if your book is available in the right format for a Kindle, a Nook, or some other format. You don't need an Internet or phone connection to get one. A well crafted book (no acid paper) will outlive me. It may outlive my son. An e-book? Will the format be around in 20 years?
But, I have to face the fact that more and more of my friends and co-workers are joining the e-reader revolution. These people, mind you, are in their 50's and 60's. They have lived with books all their lives, but they are choosing to get e-readers.
1. You can buy books that strike your fancy from the comfort of wherever you are. A wonderful thing for impulsive people-until they get the bill.
2. Free books or books that are cheaper than the physical editions.
3. Being able to adjust fonts. Now, this is a big one for the senior reader. Trust me, younger bloggers, on this one. When you turn 40, this is suddenly going to get very important as print suddenly shrinks to the size of teeny-tiny ants.
4. Privacy. There was a hysterical skit on Saturday Night Live last Saturday (the content of which I can't mention in a family blog) about why a Mom would want a Kindle.
5. If you travel abroad, you can easily get books in your preferred language.
And finally, one last observation. I was dragged into digital photography kicking and screaming. Within a day, I was absolutely hooked. Why did we ever use film? Well, film has uses but digital photography has uses, too.
So, maybe I will compromise, get an e reader, and keep my books.
What do you think? Do you refuse to get an e reader? Have you made the plunge? And if so, do you use both your e reader and physical books?