EReaders and How I Learned to Love Them

Ah, the EReader.  For a book lover, nothing can quite cause such an uproar as the person who brings up the EReader.  When they first started coming out and growing in popularity there almost seemed to be two camps: People who liked them or people who felt they were made by the devil to destroy the fundamental beauty of books.  I can’t lie to you, nor pretend that I wasn’t in the latter camp for a long time.

I can sometimes be a bit of an elitist.  I have been reading for as long as I can remember (I spent a lot of time as a young girl grounded and in my room.  Reading became the most important thing to me to do in my spare time!)  I still think even without being in trouble as much as I was that I still would have found my way to the magic of books, but I did certainly get there quicker.  There was always something special about holding a book, the familiar smell, the feel of the pages, the sounds of the pages turning.  Some paper felt thin, like any sudden movement threatened its very existence, while other pages were sturdy.  To me, they had personalities, lives, pasts.  Sometimes I would wonder who else had held the book before me, who had loved it, where it had traveled before it had found its way into my hands.  When I was younger, I volunteered at a convalescent home my father worked at.  There was a lady who lived there named Elizabeth.  She was deaf, and we would communicate by writing on a special pad she had.  She had no family that I had even seen, and when I wasn’t able to go for periods of time, we would write letters to each other.  I am sure I was no more than 8 at the time.  One day there wasn’t a letter, but a package.  She had passed away and she had left me some of her possessions.  Among her gifts to me was a well worn and read copy of “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”.  I can’t tell you how many times I held that book and just remembered her. 

Now, onto the EReader.  It’s cold, there are no covers, no smells, no feels.  I couldn’t understand for the life of me how someone who is a reader would accept one of these as a book.  You can’t cuddle with it, like you can an actual book.  There were many times that I have just gone to the book case and looked at my books, touched them, took them out to go through the pages.  You can’t do that with a Kindle or a Nook.  I saw the future, where book stores would close and paper books would go the way of the 8 track, the cassette tape, even CDs are on their way out.  I was pretty set against them, and no one was going to change my mind.

I won an award at work, which I was able to attend a dinner and they give you a gift.  This year’s gift was not the usual crystal item which I have no purpose for (and usually is given to my mom as payment for babysitting the children).  This year it was a Kindle.  I looked at it, held it, tried to figure out what I would do with it, and decided that if I was going to be against it, I should at least try it out for a moment and see what the thing actually looked like.  So I took it home and turned it on.  I purchased a couple of books (it is dangerously easy to purchase books, by the way) and decided to give it a go.

I was surprised to find that it wasn’t horrible.  I found myself actually enjoying reading off of it.  I went outside with it, sat down at a table and just read for a bit.  It had no glare, it wasn’t heavy, and I could just swipe my finger to turn the page.  I started to see it differently, not as something that was threatening my books, but as another tool to access them.  I could slip it in my purse and take it with me everywhere, emergency rooms, urgent care clinics, quick work breaks.  I could put it on my desk and not have to worry about losing my page.  Yes, the EReaders has its advantages.  The only disadvantage I have found is that it doesn’t have a light in it (which has now been rectified by different models).  Foreign Correspondent who also is my Foreign Financial Adviser tells me I don’t need a new one, but Foreign Financial Adviser Correspondent has also never tried to read in bed with a book light.  I totally want a Nook.

So, does this make me less of a book lover?  No.  I still love the feel, smell, weight of a book in my hand.  I love the sounds of pages turning and my favorite place to spend time will always be a book store, whether it be Barnes and Noble, or the quirky but lovable Book Barn.  I will never stop buying books, buying my children books, or curling up with a real book regardless on whether I can purchase it or not through Amazon in an electronic format.  Sometimes it is just nice to have multiple options available.  I have realized that someone who is a lover of food, a true lover, loves all things food related.  They may have their specific tastes, just as I have my particular genres, but they will embrace new things as well.

“Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.” ~ Stephen Fry



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2 responses to “EReaders and How I Learned to Love Them

  1. Okay the story about Elizabeth made me tear up a little…(I am at work and am extremely overtired, don’t judge me). We also have the crystal pitcher in the back of a cupboard somewhere because how do people even use those things..?

    I agree with you on the E-reader vs. physical book argument. At first I wanted nothing to do with my Nook. Poor Stan because he bought it for me for our anniversary (I think) and I was like “Oh…thanks…” and inside I was like “NOOOO YOU DON’T KNOW ME AT ALL!! GET OUUUTTT!!”” But then I became obsessed and now I totally want a kindle! I still love the smell of books (mold) and need to own some but the ereader is just so darn easy to love!!

  2. No worries, this is a judgement free zone! I often tear up at things (but ssshhhh don’t tell anyone, it would ruin my street cred).

    Hahaha, poor Stan! I understand though, I have gotten the gifts that I put the smile on and turn it over in my hand wondering what to do with it. At least he had books right, I have had people go waaaayyyy off the mark with me. It was tough for me to come to terms with the fact that I really was ok with the Kindle and I could still love books and like the Kindle at the same time.

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