3.07.2011

How Having An eReader Works For Me

When Amazon came out with the very first Kindle, I was stricken. I am very technology driven, and I knew I "needed" one. What stopped me from buying it (besides the outrageous $400 price tag) was the realization that I loved printed books, and would never want to replace them. That's when I thought I became anti-eReader. Then the sleek design of the Nook was introduced into the world, and I wanted one...but still never bought one. I just couldn't see myself buying enough ebooks to justify the purchase.

Other reasons why I didn't buy an eReader included my love for the smell of printed pages and pretty covers, and the knowledge that if I wanted the library of my dreams, then I wouldn't be able to waste the money on digital copies that took up basically no space. I also knew I would feel uncomfortable carrying something so valuable around with me all the time. What if it got wet? What if I dropped it? Where would my books be then? And my biggest question: What if I ended up hating it?

Oh, the naivety.

I got my taxes back last month and decided that with the extra money, I would give in and buy a Kindle after all. The biggest factor going into this choice was how tired I was of reading Netgalley books on my computer. It gets annoying. Also, it was the perfect time to give it a try, now that I had an excuse.

After a few weeks with my Kindle, here is what I like and don't like about having an eReader:

No matter how big the book is that I'm reading, I only have to carry the eReader around. No more shoving huge 500 page books into my purse and feeling like I'm lugging the entire world on my shoulder. The Kindle is pretty light, and fits right in my purse.

Every book is at my fingertips. I'm lazy. I like that I don't have to get up and walk anywhere if I want to change my book. The downside to this, is that because it is easier to change books, it is easier for me to give up on a book if I'm not liking it a few pages in. Just click a few buttons, and I'm reading something better! ...that's a habit I need to stop myself from acquiring, since I need to give books more of a chance than that!

My son's books are on my Kindle now, too. I found a bunch of children's chapter books (some for 88 cents!), and we have been reading them every night. Aside from chapter books, though, I refuse to buy picture books for my Kindle. Chapter books are easily read on an eReader with no loss. But I don't think you can ever replicate the magic a child feels when holding a picture book, looking at the colorful pictures, and having it read to him. You just can't. So no picture books on the Kindle for me.

Not being able to flip through pages had been hard for me. I like to flip back to a passage if I need it later in the book, but I don't always remember where it was. With and ebook, I have to remember to bookmark or highlight something if I think I'll want it later. Because if I don't, it's just way too much work to click through the book until I happen to land on the page I want.

It took a little getting used to, to be able to hold the Kindle without pressing random buttons, but it isn't a problem anymore. Now that I'm used to it, I like the light weight, and my hands feel like they have a break from holding heavy books. It's a relief.

Getting ebooks is easy. Almost TOO easy. I can find them on Amazon, get them straight from the publisher, and even get them straight from my Kindle. With a few clicks from any of these places, I have a new book to read. The positives are that I can get any book I want easily. There are also so many free/cheap books right now to take advantage of (hint: all the classics are free)! I have tried new authors and genres because of this, and found some that I really like. The downside is that it is that much easier to spend money on books. Which, for me, was already a problem. Now it's even worse. In order to limit my spending, I bought a gift card and attached it to my Amazon account, and am restricting myself to the money on the gift card. When it's gone, it's gone...for a little while at least.

What I feel I have lost with having an eReader, is the visual part of reading. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like the cover is part of the book inside, and not having a cover to look at while reading, makes me sad. I also don't have a shiny book to display on my shelf, or to loan out to friends whenever I choose. These things are important to me, and they make it impossible to become exclusively an eReader. And yes, I do miss the smell of paper and ink. Because of this (and the fact that I could never truly give up on print copies), I will still buy print copies of my favorite books. Series and trilogies that I love will be brought home as physical copies, and anything I read on my Kindle that I end up adding to my favorites, will have a physical copy brought home as well.

And finally: as far as not wanting to carry something so valuable around, the Kindle has become similar to a cell phone for me. I can carry it around with me, and as long as I'm aware that I have it, no harm will come to it. I don't obsess over it, but it's always there, and I always know where it is. Like a cell phone. Plus, after much thought, I realized that my cell phone was about the same price as my Kindle, and I have no problems taking the phone anywhere. Why should I have problems taking the Kindle?

Yesterday, Rooney put up his thoughts on eReaders in a video. He has a different view of eReaders than I do, but I very much agree with his last remark. While I think an eReader was a fantastic investment for my needs, I, too, hope it isn't the end of books...or authors!

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your views on an eReader. I am slow to adopt new technology (my cell phone barely makes phone calls) so I have been hesitant to buy an eReader. I love reading a real book, but see some practicality to having an eReader. Now I'm thinking of buying one, but there's too many choices so I don't know which one to buy.

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  2. It was nice hearing your thoughts. I agree with you on many points - I truly hate not being able to lend books to friends!! Also, if it's a book I love with lots of awesome quotes... it's hard to search through the ebook, as you mentioned. I mainly use my ereader to purchase discounted books (if the price is the same as the physical book, I just buy that!) or extremely long books that would be annoying to carry around.

    Ans I also love being able to read Netgalley titles off of my computer!

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  3. I love it because in real like I'm a minimalist. I only own books I love. But in virtual reading I can accumulate all kinds of books and have them all at my finger tips. It's addicted.

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  4. I spend so much money on books now. If I finish a book, I buy another by the same author because I'm still excited and haven't had a chance to settle down.

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  5. I can relate I had to turn down reviewing a book for netgalley that I really liked the sound of as I just couldn't read it on the computer. There is no way however that I would buy an ereader to me it's horrid the thought of something other that a physical book in my hands not to mention that I can't afford one. Glad you're enjoying yours though.

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  6. Donna: That was my dilema too! I ended up going with a Kindle because my mom has one, and I played around with it and liked it. I like the Kindle, but now I'm wondering what the Nook is like. Good luck with choosing! I hope you get one. :)

    Alyssa: Agreed and agreed! There are definitely ups and downs, but for the most part, I am liking it.

    Juju: Perfect description! It's really easy to accumulate virtual books.

    Alexis: I hear ya!

    Jessica: Totally understandable! There are some things an ereader just can't replace.

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Thanks for commenting! I read each and every one, and reply as soon as I can :)

Please note: The Reading Fever is an award-free zone. I am very flattered, but comments are all the thanks I need.

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