Some thoughts on Books and E-Readers

Books and reading have always been a very tangible experience for me.  The smell of a new book or an old and much loved copy, the noise and sensation of turning a page, even turning down a corner of the page you are on (a crime to some I know!) if you need to put it down before the end.  I even prefer buying books in a store even though online shopping is so much easier.  I go into the shop with a sense of excitement about getting a new book, hoping they have one you want in stock or just choosing something new to read.  Mind you, I can rarely buy just one book and holding a few as you browse is part of the experience.  Then buying them and leaving the shop with a bag of books and a lot of anticipation.  Online you can usually get what you want but the wait for the delivery and then arriving in a box doesn’t bring about quite that same sense of excitement.

With the advent of E-readers, I’m a bit lost what to think.  I’ve never used one and only looked at ones for sale in Waterstones and online, so not had the experience for myself.  I can see the advantages – being able to carry a multitude of books on one device that is the size of one, but is that the only thing that would attract me?

Have I become so ingrained with my love of physical books since I was a young child that I wouldn’t be able to make the switch?  And would I want to? The other aspect that comes to mind as well is I use the computer for so many things already, my eyes like the break of reading text on paper.  Would I just feel as if I were still reading a computer screen?  The sun on a book page doesn’t really make much difference other than squinting slightly.  The sun on a screen is a totally different matter and makes it unreadable.

I’d be interested to know how people feel, who feel the same as I do about physical books but do use an E-reader anyway.  Or as I suspect I might be, are you too in love with paper books to want to do it a different way?

Grete

Author: Grete

I'm a complete bookaholic and never want a cure... more shelf space maybe. The only things I love more than reading is my husband and my cats!

1 thought on “Some thoughts on Books and E-Readers”

  1. Hi Grete, I too love books, that musty smell you only get in second hand book shops is strangely appealing, but I also love my E-reader (PRS 505) and here’s why. First and foremost, with the addition of a leather cover, it retains enough of the feel of a book. The “page” being magnetized ink is as easy on the eyes as the real deal. When I am cold in bed reading I only need my thumb out of the covers to turn the pages. It’s a standard weight and size no matter how big the book I’m reading is. I have to confess I tired of reading my paperback version of Don Quixote in part because it was annoyingly heavy. (I probably shouldn’t admit that…) I can easily travel with an array of novels and work texts without requiring an additional suitcase – with wheels! It reads just as well in bright sunlight too – there is no glare like on a computer screen because there is no back light. (That does mean you can’t read in the dark with out a light though.) It stops me from putting dog ears on real book pages, which I have always done and always found shamefully sacrilegious. It is aesthetically pleasing in its own right and comfortable to use.
    There are however some downsides. How the publishers can justify it, is beyond me, but I have been unable to find ebooks that are reasonably priced (excluding those that are out of copyright and freely available). They tend to sell at the original full list price, whereas most paperbacks are discounted in several stores. This incenses me. Some formats are not that great and cause the page turns to be slower than I would like. E.g. Reading large pdf files with graphics can take a second or two to page turn which can be frustrating. This can also affect readability if for example the original font is particularly small. (Although the eReader has an option for adjusting text size it isn’t entirely effective in all formats.). If you are a particularly fast reader the page turn time can be a problem. (I’m not that fast so it doesn’t bother me too much.)

    So as you can see, it’s not all good, but overall for me I wouldn’t swap it for any other gadget. It helps me to pursue my joy of reading in the few spare moments I have – I travel everywhere with it, and consequently can choose what I read and when – wherever I am. It doesn’t completely replace the good old fashioned paper version, but for a book lover like yourself, I think you might surprise yourself and like it a little more than you expect.

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