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On Ebooks

As a “voracious” reader with a background working in bookstores and libraries, I often get the question “So, what do you think about ebooks?” When I say that I love them, I get mixed reactions.  Sometimes relief and justification for their own feelings (do people think that you cannot love books and technology at the same time?) or disappointment (You? But don’t you love the smell and the feel?) Do people expect librarians to be complete Luddites? If you attend a professional library or archives conference, you will quickly see that the great majority of these career professionals embrace technology and actively care about the future (and the history) of the book.

QWERTY Kindle I got a Kindle last year for my birthday.  They have been around for years, and it wasn’t that I was holding out or anything, just hadn’t picked one up yet. Maybe it was the dip in pricing and the WiFi capabilities of the new Kindle 3.  Maybe it was Amazon’s aggressive marketing.  Whatever it was, I think it changed my life for the better.  Over the last few years, I have focused on simplicity and unattachment, and I think I surprised a lot of my family and friends when I gave away over 400 books in the last 2 years – which happened even before the Kindle.  The literal weight of these books was just too much for me and for my bookshelves.  I knew there were some that I would never read and I didn’t even know why I was holding on to them.  And I can tell you that I don’t even miss them, and I regained some space in my house (and my mind!)

I realized that it was the information INSIDE that I was trying to hold on to… maybe in some way I thought that by owning the books, I would possess the information inside? by osmosis of some sort? Not sure.

Sure, I love the smell of (some) books.  I love going to a library and seeing the spines and thinking of all of the knowledge and wisdom inside… but in my mind, there is a place for both the physical book AND the ebook.  I was able to make a pretty clear distinction:  novels, non-fiction, essays – KINDLE.  Graphic novels don’t translate to the screen that well (well, the Kindle, that is… I realize that with the tablet computers, there might be a way to do this right now) and there seem to be some acquisition librarians at my my county library who like graphic novels as much as I do.  I do prefer physical cookbooks as well.  Again, tablet computers may take this realm pretty soon, but in the meantime, I will continue to use, peruse, and love my cookbook collection.  (And do I even have to address knitting and other craft books?  I do use the Kindle for some PDF patterns, but my knitting book collection did not undergo the same “weeding” that the other books in the collection did!)

On GoodReads, you can see what I am reading – on how I am reading.  When I buy and read a Kindle book, I give it a Kindle tag.  I do the same for audiobooks. The distinction is really only for me and my memory bank, but it is an interesting study in modern reading habits, as I see others using these same kinds of tags.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this ~ people seem to have a lot of opinions on this topic!

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40 Responses

  1. heidi

    I don’t have a kindle or a ipad or anything similar. But I do have a lot of books. A few years ago I had to get rid of about a third of my book just because I really couldn’t fit them into the shelves, and felt that they took to much space. Since then, I have decided that for every book that goes in, 2 book will have to get out.

    I love the idea of having an ipad eventually! I think that the ability to have more books in a very limited space is a great one. Also, I would love to have most of my knitting books on an ipad, as I feel that would make it easer for me to browse through. The advantages are so many with a kindle or an ipad, compared to “real” books:)

    Not to mention books that you just want to read once, and then immediately give away, because they weren’t really that great. Or because it was one of those books that are only a once read book. And that to me, these are books that you don’t want to clutter your library:)

    So yes, I love real books, I have a few hundred of them. But in the future, I would much prefer an ipad or similar to read and store books in.

  2. Seanna Lea

    I got an ereader last year. While I do love it, what I love most is that it encouraged me to read different books. I picked up free things, new series, entire genres that I cannot find in the average library. I’m such a re-reader, that I love the kick in the pants this gives me to read something new.

    Of course, I don’t think it makes me read more. I tend to read in waves or based on how big a book is (the tome I’m reading now is just too unweildy in my knitting bag, so I wish I had an ebook version). I also love my ereader for vacations.

    I bought 1 cookbook for the ereader and will not do it again. I know I would use and enjoy the cookbook more if it were in print. I assumed the same thing about knitting books, though admittedly if it was formatted properly I think they would work as well (excepting maybe charts).

  3. Elise

    I haven’t been a resistor to e-books, but since most of what I read comes from a library I never saw much need to get an e-reader. That is, until I got a droid phone with the kindle app. I love the kindle app! I still haven’t bought a book on it, but I have found a few great books for free and it is a great backup for when I don’t want to carry a book or I finish a book unexpectedly. It takes away the fear and anxiety of not having something to read.

    And I suppose I could call myself a librarian, though it’s only part of what I do. I recently finished grad school where we talked endlessly about e-books and yes there are some vocal luddites among us, but I think we need to embrace both in a moderate way. There are positive and negative aspects to e-books. The biggest drawback I see are the copyright questions, along with who really owns that e-book, followed by the obvious what if the power goes out question. And yes I have met many people who “like the smell of books” or think that I must. Really I’m in this for the people and the information, not the actual book.

  4. mick

    I have a Nook, and I do love it, but I’ve got certain categories that I read there, just like you. If I’m reading a book for fun, I happily read it on the Nook, as long as it’s not a graphic novel. If I’m reading a book for school, though, I still go the paper route. I need to be able to annotate while reading, and though many ereaders allow notes, they’re still not streamlined enough to make it worth my while. I do think that ereaders have enormous potential for teaching as well; my students drop so much money on textbooks that are very quickly out of date, and an eversion would allow easy (and much more cost-effective) updates.

  5. Cathy

    I was CERTAIN i would hate the Kindle. I love books, have always loved books and I work on a computer all day. I had a milestone birthday last year (50) and my Dad bought me a special gift (Kindle 3g WIFI). I didn’t open it for days, trying to decide if I wanted to keep it or not – my sister-in-law kept telling me I would love it if I just gave it a try…. so I did. It is always with me and I LOVE the fact that I don’t have to worry about grabbing another book if I’m almost done with one, and which book do I want to take etc. I have a whole library with me all the time – for whatever mood may strike me… pure joy! I, too, have some .pdf knitting patterns on there and also some music (in case I don’t have my ipod with me). It is an amazing device that doesn’t strain my eyes at all – I love the fact that Amazon has all the classics free – and I joined Pixel of Ink as well – it’s wonderful to receive notifications of limited time free books, specials, new releases etc. I still have plenty of physical books in my house, but not nearly as many as I used to.

  6. Didi

    I completely agree with you on the content distinction. I purchased the Kindle in the middle of my thesis prep last year, and while I tried to read some of my sources on the Kindle, it never “took” (thesis was on the effects of globalization on agricultural communities). Within a few days of the Kindle’s arrival I realized one BIG thing: I was more apt to read a novel, essay, or short work on the Kindle than I was on paper. Academic texts, historical criticisms, cookbooks, graphic novels, most of my knitting books, and political works don’t “read” as well, to me, on the Kindle as they do on paper. Everything else? I usually want it on my Kindle.

    I love the convenience aspect of the gadget; being able to purchase a new book while sipping tea in my pajamas, in bed, has been an amazing thing. When I travel for business I can pop the Kindle into my bag, taking everything I *might* want to read along with me without the literal weight of the decision. That said, there are still some types of books I like to read with the heft of hardback (Pulitzer Prize winners from decades ago? Yes, please!).

  7. Angela

    I dragged my heals on getting an ereader. One of my favorite things to do when traveling is visit the local used book stores and see what I could find. My husband took me to B&N one day to just get a feel for the nook and I really liked it. Since I’ve bought mine I have never read so much in my life! It’s just so convenient to slip it in my purse when running errands or going to the doctors office. When my 5 year old is watching Yo Gabba Gabba or any other mind numbing cartoon, we can still cuddle in a chair and I can read with one hand – I never could do that with a regular book. I did try out a few different eReaders before I bought mine and my personal preference was for how the nook felt but I love it that we actually have options now and we can get what works best for each of us. Someday I’m hoping the availability will be better so that you can purchase any book for any device (you may be able to do that now but I just haven’t taken the time to look into it). Within the next month or so I’m going to go through all of my old books and donate a bunch to our local library if they’ll take them. There’s some that I’ll keep no matter what but I completely understand how you feel when you can get rid of some that were just taking up space. That’s always a good feeling. I’m really liking Good Reads so far too to help me keep organized and in touch with what my friends recommend. I’m not the best about adding reviews but it’s something I hope to improve on in the future.

  8. Kathy

    I was a bit resistant to an e-reader too because I have always been a “book” person. I gave my boyfriend a Kindle for Christmas 2009 and he loved it. I was still resistant myself until the latest generation Kindle came out and the price was decreased. Instead of buying it for myself, my boyfriend gave it to me at Christmas. I absolutely love it! When I was reading “Unbroken” it was a book taking place in the Pacific of World War II. Recently it was a book taking place in the France of M.F.K. Fisher. I love that it can be any book at all (that is available in Kindle form)!

    I finished a book on my Kindle while out of town for Easter. I didn’t need to go to the bookstore for a new one. I just turned on the 3G and bought one in my pajamas. So convenient!

    I too plan to buy all my fiction, biographies, short stories for Kindle too, with a few exceptions such as series that I have started years ago in physical books…got to keep that nice continuous look to my bookshelves. But cookbooks, knitting books, and others of the sort where pictures are important will definitely be bought in traditional form.

  9. Genny

    It’s so interesting to hear that you wouldn’t think of knitting books on an e-reader. I don’t have one, but I’d love to have all my craft books electronically – I can’t knit and hold a book open at the same time! Otherwise my synesthesia means that physical books are better for me. I associate texture and scent with words, so it bothers me to read books in an alternate format.

  10. Laura

    I have to agree about the ebook. I don’t have a Kindle but I do have an e reader on my computer and laptop and I now receive e books to review through egalley. I have found that I seem to read faster, at least it seems that way, but don’t know why. I still love the feel of books and I have yet to weed my library in any large sense. I did it once before when we moved a long distance and I immediately regretted some of the books I sold. I do trade books on Paperbackswap.com but I seem to replace them with new books as quickly as I get rid of a stack. I like being able to read multiple books at one time which makes e books much more attractive. I don’t think I would use an e reader for cooking. Could be hazardous! :>) and messy.

  11. Mirtana

    I’m still dragging my heels on getting an ereader. We have chain stores here in Germany advertising their own ereader and after toying around with one for a while (you are allowed to test those things in the store) I discarded the idea of getting one.

    I went through a very rough patch a few years back and I lost everything I owned including my rather big collection of books. I didn’t have a job, I barely avoided living on the streets and all I owned was a backpack with clothes – and a copy of Lord of the Rings. I never regretted losing all that stuff. I still don’t own very much due to the fact that I simply don’t have the space to store it.

    But books? A whole library crammed into a little technical device? Than I wouldn’t be able to pass the books I’ve read and found not worthy of keeping along to people who can’t afford new books for various reasons. It’s a kind of custom with my mother and me: she buys the books and if she doesn’t want to keep them she gives them to me. When I’m finished with them they continue their journey. So, I’ve read a lot over the last few years and I gave quite a lot of books to other people to enjoy them before passing them on.

    It’s old-fashioned but I like the feeling when I cuddle up with a good book, a cup of tea and some sweets on a rainy day. I love turning over pages, I like the faint sound of that. I love the feel of real books and I would surely miss those with an ereader.

  12. --Deb

    I’ve got a Kindle-2 and like it a lot, though I wouldn’t quite say love. I do love that I can get samples before I buy a book (the one real disadvantage to buying online rather than browsing in a bookstore). I love its easy-to-read text and the convenience and all that. But I object to some of the pricing–namely that the Kindle versions are often MORE than the paperback copies and that just drives me nuts.

    I haven’t tried any knitting books yet at all, and only one cookbook, though I thought that worked fine. These days I have most of my recipes on the computer anyway and usually cook right off my netbook screen, so I’d get along fine with the Kindle for cooking.

    My only real complaint about ebook reading? It’s not the ‘smell, the feel” stuff. It’s the words that matter, and the ease with which I can read them that matters to me. But when reading a paper book, it’s easy to flip back and forth to double-check things, refer back to earlier chapters, flip ahead to try to spot a character’s name if they’re in a death-defying situation now. (What? I’m the only one who does that?) Using the Kindle for reference purposes isn’t as easy as I’d like it to be. Not like scrolling through a Word document, for example.

    Still … that little gadget sure does come in handy!

  13. alissa

    In function, I love the tablets. As an opposer of DRM (digital rights management), I have a hard time currently justifying the purchase of one for myself. I help many of my patrons with them daily and I do think there is a place for both physical books AND digital books and I am forever delighted with the different applications and uses that e-reader developers are coming up with. :)

  14. Jacey

    I love keeping up with you on goodreads. Several of my to-read books are based on your recommendations. As of yet, I do not have an ebook, but I will probably break down and buy one soon. Two of my close friends have recently purchased kindles, and they love them. I think my reason for avoiding it thus far is probably as you described; I somehow think that by physically owning books, I own the knowledge within. It’s silly when you say it out loud, isn’t it? I do have to say that since joining goodreads, I’ve definitely gotten back into reading.

    I agree that for cookbooks/any books where illustration is important, I’ll probably stick to the real thing.

  15. Kim

    When we moved from Hawaii last year, I got rid of a lot of books; they had been a huge part of our worldly goods, and sending them on to new and appreciative homes felt great. I am thinking to do more of the same again this summer.

    I’ve recently fallen in love with the HBO series “Game of Thrones” and am planning to read the books the series is based on this summer via Kindle. My husband has one but seldom uses it, and I’m thinking it needs to be adopted by me!

  16. Carole

    In the world of public libraries the kindle is much maligned because Amazon won’t work with Overdrive to make books available in the kindle format. I got a lot of crap from my fellow librarians when I bought a kindle as they all wanted me to get a nook. However, the reason I wanted the kindle was for the instant gratification that comes with it – I don’t want to wait and wait for the title, I want it RIGHT NOW. So the idea of borrowing ebooks from the library didn’t really appeal to me. And now, in public libraries, we are dealing with the fall out of publishers trying to limit the number of times we can circulate an ebook anyway. It’s hard to be all things to all people – they want us to buy a hardcover, they want us to be an ebook, they want an audiobook, they want large print, they want a paperback – and yet they give us less money. Sigh.

  17. Wanett

    I just finished a paper today on ebooks for my collection development class’ final. I had to write a plan for including them in a library collection. I listed the tagging ability on GoodReads as a good way to get a feel for which ebooks people were reading and on what to help with choosing titles and formats. I see a definite place for them in library collections and for use by anyone that loves to read.

    I caved to the Nook late last year after a trip to B&N where I could touch and use it as opposed to read about its features online. I love it, though I don’t foresee a time when I will only purchase ebooks. I love that the Nook allows you to read borrowed books and that it’s in color.

  18. Leslie

    I have a first-generation Kindle. I’m like you — I like Kindle for some genres and I prefer regular books for others. I’ve sort of gotten into a one Kindle book-one regular book rotation. We have an awesome book swap at my kids’ school so I’ve nabbed some great regular books that way. I also have really loved using paperbackswap.com (check it out, if you haven’t already…) — between that, the book swap and my Kindle, I keep costs down and help the environment. :)

  19. Netter

    I work for an STM publisher (scientific-technical-medical, focusing on the research market). We have become an e-publisher in the 15 years that I’ve worked in the industry. Our end users prefer e-books and e-versions of our journals and reference works,even the librarians. STM has held the largest share of the e-book market, without large adaption on e-readers like the kindle (Kindle requires e-pub formatting which a lot of STM publishers are not yet providing).

    It’s been a long, strange evolution for me professionally. I used to do everything on paper. Every part of production woudld require reams of paper. Some projects were stacks a foot high at each stage. Now, we do everything electronically and I rarely print anythhing.

    Personally, it’s been a different transition. I got an Ipod touch last year for Mother’s day and started using the Kindle app. I didn’t know how much I would actually use it. But, I’ve read some really long books (including The Passage)on it and loved it. I just bought a Kindle this week. I love books. I wouldn’t work in publishing if I didn’t, but I can’t keep taking up space in my small house or justify the paper use for my pleasure reading. And a lot of people who use specialized, up-to-date knowledge in their work think the same way.

    Paper books are great and we owe a lot of the developments of our culture to the ability of the written or printed word to reliably transmit the same information to many people. Mass distribution of information was made possible by Gutenberg and his press, but pixels and bytes allow that information to be spread faster and further at a smaller envrionmental cost.

  20. Sophanne

    I had a second gen kindle. I’ve passed it on to a friend and use the kindle app on the iPad. Love it. I did the same thing with my books and share your sentiments exactly on the whole issue. The only part that I miss is supporting my independent book seller. I know he’s losing money.

  21. Ady

    I have a Nook and use it constantly. I love being able to shop for a new book and read it moments later. I also love the convenience of it. I have to move around a lot for work, and books are HEAVY to move! On the Nook though, I can store a lot of books at the same time. There are still a lot of books that I have in paper format (knitting pattern books, mainly). I recently updated to the Nook color and am excited to see my magazines and children’s books and graphic novels on it. Honestly, I got a book cover for it so it feels like a “real” book… only it is a lot more convenient for me. It just suits my lifestyle better. I have found that I am reading a lot more since updating to eBooks. I would almost be embarrassed to tag my goodreads as such since I don’t know if I have anything but eBooks on there!

  22. Meg

    As a student who is currently studying information in libraries, I can fully attest that librarians are absolutely not afraid of technology. Not the good ones or the ones who want to keep their jobs, anyway. I have a lot to say about ebooks, but I’ll settle for saying that I don’t own a Kindle. I’m curious, and I’d like to get behind them 100%. The problem is that I’m just not interested in paying nearly full price for a book that I don’t really own, and life is too short to read sub-par books. Digital rights management has a long way to go before I can truly feel good and safe with a Kindle. The tip of the iceberg, but relevant to all who use a Kindle: http://librarianinblack.net/librarianinblack/2011/02/ebookrights.html

    Also, I have heard from a friend that an iPad in shrink wrap works beautifully as a cookbook substitute. The shrink wrap protects it but still allows the touch screen to work without a problem. Maybe not practical at the moment, but an interesting thought!

  23. Sarah

    I have been thinking about purchasing an e-reader. Part of what I have been trying to determine is if I will really use it or if it would be a wasteful extravagance. I am leaning towards the Kindle, and have been saving amazon gift certificates, but am still unsure. I like reading what other people are saying about e-readers, and that has been helpful to me as I work towards the right decision for me.

  24. kingshearte

    I initially didn’t really like the idea (even as I acknowledged that, slowly or quickly, that’s the way we’re going), mainly because: how is someone supposed to judge me based on my books if they can’t see them arrayed on my shelves? Then I remembered that I borrow most of the things I read anyway, so really, those people are already judging mainly my husband’s fiction and my shelves of word nerd reference books, which I’ll still buy in physical form, so there wouldn’t really be much change. And then there’s the convenience of carrying it around, getting a new book quickly if I finished one while I’m out… In any case, I just put a kindle on my wishlist.

  25. nancy

    I share your thoughts exactly. As an avid reader all my life, I can honestly say I LOVE books. But the Kindle provides the kind of freedom that a hardcover never can. And as a NYC commuter, I try to lighten the load however possible. Also, what’s the greatest fear of every true reader? Finishing your book and not having the next great read handy. Kindle solves that problem. Sure there are some dog-eared, well read books that I’ve hung onto. But I’m down to 2 shelves. And I love having the option: hardcovers, paperbacks, e-books, audiobooks, it’s heaven for someone who loves to read. Yes: cookbooks and knitting books are the exception. But having just purchased an ipad and switched over to a digital newspaper….who knows….

  26. Amy

    I love my Kindle. I had a Kindle 2 and I wore it out and then the dogs knocked it off the couch and broke the screen. (Totally my fault not a comment on the sturdiness of the kindle.) SO I bought myself a Kindle 3 and I find that having it definitely increases the amount I read.

    I also agree that some books just wont do on and ereader. Cookbooks and instructional manuals I like to have on a shelf where I can grab them and look whenever I want to.

  27. Beverly

    I echo your feelings almost exactly. I have grown to love reading e-books, especially when I’m traveling. Pre-Kindle, I tended to pack 3-4 books and a pile of magazines so I WOULD NOT BE WITHOUT SOMETHING TO READ (oh, the horror of that thought). Now, my Kindle or iPad keep me from being weighed down. When I really love a novel, I want it physically on my shelf, but that’s often so I can loan it out to (or force it on) those who I feel might like it. I’ve learned that most people who are REALLY anti- e-books haven’t given them a real chance!

  28. Brenda

    I received an iPad for Christmas, and I use it for my job as a biochemist, because all the scientific papers I need to read are available as pdfs, and there are programs that allow me to “highlight” them. So I was glad to not have to print out stacks and stacks of scientific papers anymore.

    I also downloaded the Kindle app, and I thought I would use it a little, like when waiting for my husband after work or when traveling. However, I surprised myself with how much I enjoy reading on the iPad. I prefer it to paper for fiction and general reading. Like you, I prefer my cookbooks and knitting books as actual books. It is also nice not to be accumulating so many new books. I was having to get rid of books to find room for new books, and that has significantly slowed down. However, there are many books I want to read that aren’t available as an ebook, many are backlisted novels by series writers–I’m an avid mystery fan–and I hope publishers make these books available as ebooks at a reasonable price.

    One other thing I really like is that with amazon, the Kindle ebook sample you can download for free is quite lengthy, so it is easy to get a good feel for the story and the writing style.

  29. Christabel

    This post gave me the push I needed to rethink my relationship with books, and I finally ordered a Kindle!
    I think like Lolly I was trying to hold onto the information, ideas and memories associated with the books–it’s like a kind of comfort or security to have them close by, in case of…I don’t know exactly what.

  30. Juliann

    I bought my Kindle in the first edition that was so costly. I justified the purchase, as usual, and plunked the money down. I LOVE mine, even though it is a fossil by comparison to the newer ones. I have converted a few people to ereaders, but I think you have to be there to really want one. I read 1-2 books a week, and it is my pleasure reading go-to device. I took mine on a trip that had the usual plane delays at the airport. I ended up reading one whole book on the 14 hour trip. A trip that should have been six hours, by-the-way. I even read while I am knitting, eating in public places, or waiting around for car repairs, doctor visits, etc.

  31. Moni

    It’s funny because I have pretty much the exact same experience. I resisted getting an e-book reader for years and only just got my Kindle this past Summer. I love it and am so glad I have it now.

  32. linda cannon

    I agree so whole heartedly. I too have a Kindle, got it for Christmas and love it, It has allowed me to read more and knit while I am doing it. To travel and only carry it and not 10 books because even though I knit I worry I will run out of reading material. Or maybe I worry I will run out of yarn and not have anything to read. I need to declutter, there are some books I will never get rid of but the others, when i read them need to be gone too. Thank you for this blog.

  33. Willemtje

    I’m simply too lazy to get into e-books, but I can see their potential. Once upon a time I had three walls covered by bookcases. When we were planning to move house I started putting cardboard boxes full of books near the front door. Everybody who came to our house could take their pick. I only kept reference books like garden books, cookbooks etc. When I get the urge to re-read an old favourite there’s always the charity shop. I still give away nearly every novel I read, saves a lot of dusting and they all go to good homes.

  34. KnittySue

    I just purchased a Nook and I LOVE it. I have severe CT and arthritis and as the years have passed I find it very painful now to hold and carry around books, just holding them open or turning a page. When I was finally setting a pillow on my lap and turning the page with an eraser I decided to give in.
    When I moved to my apartment from a large house…I donated 99% of the books I had in 7 bookcases around the house. I now have my knitting pattern books and 2 shelfs on one bookcase left….I have to see that I have some books after all.
    Though nothing would make me happier than a room of shelves, lined with books and a sliding ladder…I can now carry the same amount of books around in one easy to handle device….and the bonus..it fit’s in my purse.
    I’ll never have a home without books…just one with less of them on the shelves…the rest I carry in one device.

  35. carol

    I love my E-Reader. As others have said, it opens up a new world with many books you would not choose. I am never in a waiting room with not book–my E-Reader is so easy to carry or I can just use the app on my phone. But, for some strange reason, I still want my knitting books to be the type with a spine and pages. I cannot figure out why.

  36. maryse

    i love my kindle for commuting and for reading novels and other books that i know i will only read once. i love that i can prop my kindle up on a table on the train and knit and read at the same time. i love that i can download a sample and try new authors etc.

    i love my craft books though as actual books and i have tons of those. and books that i love so much that i know i’ll want to reread them, i also prefer them as actual books. i like to see them on my shelves.

  37. Chandler

    I think it’s a given that since I make books, I’m a bibliophile. But I also really like to think of myself as a book *curator.* I think we’re up to well over a thousand books here in the house, and since I’m really careful only to buy ones I’d either re-read or use as a frequent reference, I almost never feel the need to purge them. Single-read books tend to come from the library, and then go right back when I’m done. So while I definitely think there’s a place for e-readers in the world, I basically have zero interest in them. I’d already *love* blogs so much more if I didn’t have to stare at a light-emitting screen to read them!

  38. IngerMaaike

    I have an ereader which I have now handed over to my kid in favour of a tablet with a pixel qi screen which is usable in full sun and have since then never looked back. I have discovered many new writers and love scrolling science,receipe,news in full colour. All the books I could ever wish for at my fingertips.
    The saved fuel,trees,ink….if but everyone would switch. It s perfect for schools too where kids kan seek up to date knowledge webwide.
    Time for everyone to move forwards into the 21st century…

  39. Esther

    I just came across your blog, and one of the first entries that I read had to do with the realization that holding onto books is more about wanting their ideas rather than their physical entity. Wow, this really hit home for me. I come from a family of book collectors, not the first edition kind, but of the kind that feels that any book, of any value, is worthy of shelf space. Once I had my own home, I continued the tradition. I can’t even count the number of books I have. They used to sit two thick on the bookshelves. And when I ran out of bookshelves, in piles on the stairs, under tables, and anyplace that seemed empty at the moment. And then I had an accident and could no longer read (although I can still see). Suddenly, all of these books started weighing me down, collecting dust, looking hopeful that one day I’ll pick them up again. Our solution, to my husband’s delight, was to pack them in boxes in the hope that our children would be interested in reading them some time in the future. Many of the books were from my degrees in English literature, but just as many were books intended to just while away the time on the weekends or summer. I used to justify the expense of book buying by saying that books give me more pleasure time-wise than going out to see a movie. Putting my books in storage and giving some away was very liberating. Because it wasn’t as if I was giving their ideas away. Their ideas, their stories, their impressions remained inside me. It was just their physical entity which I could do without.

    Once I realized this, I heartily embraced technology. Afterall, through technology, I could continue harvesting the spirit of books. I am so thankful that audiobooks are widely available. If not for technology, I would be miserable. As for reading books on a screen, whether kindle or laptop, I can’t do it. But I can use my laptop for reading knitting patterns on pdf and for reading recipes. In fact, using my laptop makes it much easier for patterns and recipes because I can enlarge the font to a size that makes it possible to read a line or two.

    Given a choice between hardcopy and softcopy printing, give me softcopy any day!

  40. Casey

    I love my Kindle. I resisted buying one – even went so far as to tell a family member who wanted to get me one for Christmas one year to “not bother”. Then I moved – again – and realized, like you and a few other commenters, that I was getting crushed under the literal weight of ALL THESE BOOKS. When I realized how cheap Kindles had gotten, I bought one, then I purged. Most of the books I had in my possession, ironically, were classics that are now public-domain free downloads, so I didn’t even have to pay much per book to replace my entire collection of fiction.

    Like you, there’s books I keep in “real book” form. Knitting books, definitely. Cookbooks, yes indeed. But every thing else is fair game.

    One of the things that always kept me from reading when I travel is that I’d bring a book, and then inevitably feel like reading something else. I ADORE that I can now have almost my entire library with me, at all times, to pick and choose from, and the whole thing weighs less than a single paperback.

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