Well I am returning from a completely unnecessary hiatus. Before I got… uh, distracted, a fellow blogger, Brent Sears, suggested I write a post about the switch from paper books to e-readers, which I thought was interesting because at the time I had just been thinking about it.
I have mixed feelings about e-readers. I’m sort of old-fashioned when it comes to reading and writing. I think there is some pure and fundamental about writing your thoughts on paper and flipping through the pages of a book. I can’t tell you how many notebooks I have full of handwritten story ideas and notes from classes. Even in college, I rarely brought my laptop with me to class. It was more of a hassle than it was worth and I found that I paid closer attention to lectures when I was hand writing my notes rather than typing (not to mention that without a computer I couldn’t spend the entire class numbing my brain on Facebook).
Still, our society craves convenience. E-readers provide just that. Who wants to keep track of a bunch of books when you can simply use your phone or computer instead? Technology truly amazes me. Many e-books have the feel of a real book. You can see the pages flipping with such detail that if you flip the pages slowly enough, you can see the words backwards on the page that is being turned (try it). I think developers must know there are those of us that miss the nostalgia of holding a book and flipping its pages.
I will say, I read this one book from time to time called Million Little Mistakes by Heather McElhatton that is much better to read as an e-book. The point of this book is that there are hundreds of different ways to read it. It’s one of those books where you read the first part and then have a choice to make and you flip to a different section depending on that choice. It’s a fun read whenever I’m bored because you get through the story you’ve chosen pretty quickly. Anywho, it’s better to read electronically because you just tap whichever choice you’ve made and it takes you to that section so you get to the next part of the story you need much quicker.
Other than that, I largely prefer to read books I can hold. I like the way the pages feel when they are worn on the edges. I like finding notes from the previous owner’s friends/relatives in books I find in thrift stores. I like the stain where I dripped hot chocolate on my favorite book. I like putting sticky notes by certain passages that I particularly like in some books. I like the dusty smell of old books I find in the library or my grandma’s house. I like that books can have a story separate from the one written within its pages. While I do have e-books on my phone, and I do enjoy the convenience and portability of e-readers, I seriously doubt I’ll ever stop buying and reading real books.