Knowing that I’m an avid reader, many people have asked what I think of the growing popularity of ebooks and ereading devices. Ask me about a year ago, I would have told you that I didn’t see myself changing.
Well, I changed.
My interest in the Kindle was generated by my foray into self-publishing. I had to format a book for this thing, so it seemed logical that I learn something about it so that I could make my text look as good as possible on it. I discovered that my negative opinion was based on false assumptions about the device.
Here are some of my former thoughts on ebooks and why I changed:
- I like the feel and smell of paper. This is still true, but I had to temper my love of paper when I began developing allergy issues. Books gather dust. I don’t like reading and sneezing.
- I don’t like reading on computer screens.Turns out that many dedicated ereaders have e-ink screens, which are designed to simulate paper and do not have back-lit screens. It’s not at all like reading on a computer, and even though I didn’t believe it at first, it is very much like reading a paper book.
- I’m not going to pay $200 for a little ebook reader.The prices have dropped, so that helped, but my opinion really began to change when I saw that publishers generally price their ebooks lower than their print editions, which is fair. I am still chagrined at many publishers who are pricing their books at the same, similar, or higher cost of their paperback or hardcover print editions, so I just don’t buy them. I didn’t buy them before either, by the way. I checked them out at the library. And speaking of libraries…
- If I can check it out for free, why would I pay for a digital copy and an ereader? I still love libraries, but if you’ll note my comment on allergies above, sometimes the books from them take on an odor that just does not work for me. I have had to return books solely because of my reaction to them. (Gosh, I sound like a hypochondriac. No more allergy talk.) Plus, I don’t enjoy reading hardbacks. They are awkward to hold, especially in bed. And libraries generally stock them.
Now that I have my Kindle, I love it. It is small, lightweight, and portable, and it contains a whole library of books. It is more comfortable to hold and I don’t have to work to keep it open. (I know it sounds like I’m about to start complaining about my bursitis or something.) And it doesn’t weigh nearly as much as hardcovers. I can set it up in bed and read hands free. I even put it in a Ziploc bag and read in the tub. I don’t have to worry about breaking the spine and having pages fall out or loaning books to someone and having them returned all creased and ruined. Books are generally more affordable, and public domain works are free; I got all of Austen’s works at no cost and am working on my free Shakespeare collection. It has search features and a dictionary built in.
But most importantly, I love reading on it. It offers a paper-like reading experience. I’m not lying.
This thing is pretty darn cool.