FIR ’10 – Reading Question #2

As part of the Fall Into Reading Challenge 2010, Callapider Days has reading questions for us to answer, if we so wish, every week. The 2nd question is:
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What do you think about e-books? Do you engage in e-reading or do you prefer to stick to good ol’ physical books?

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My answer:
It depends…

I definitely don’t feel ready to let go of the actual physical book. There’s something about a book – about a brand new book with the stiff spine that smells the sweetness of freshly printed pages – of an old well loved books with dents and bents – of a library books that shows the wear and tear of many readers, all sharing the same story… that I just can’t imagine myself letting go of. I know – it takes up a lot of resources to print books… and it would make sense to go digital… But I can’t. Not completely, not yet. I went to a Book Show yesterday with my sister, and it wouldn’t have been possible if all books were digital. There just wouldn’t be the appeal of seeing kiosk after kiosk of brand news books, new releases, out of the press best sellers and lesser known books. And how would an author sign a digital copy?? And it just looks nice – a full library of books accumulated through the years. Some read, some to read, some to re-read. It speaks of a history of some sort. And you can’t really read a digital reader in the bath. There’s the risk of dropping it in, of course (which would also be kind of dangerous for your health and safety), but even if you’re extra careful of that, the steam would definitely not be very good for that oh so expensive toy.

BUT.

I can also see the appeal of the new digital formats. I’m the type of person that, even for a short bus ride to work (well, when I used to work 😉 ), I would need to bring 2-3 books. You know, in case I feel like reading that one and not that one. If I only had one book but felt like another book, now what would I do?!? If I leave on a trip… well, make that 10 books. 😛 And in case I finish them all, better add 2-3 more. And an extra one just in case.

Now that starts to take up a lot of room in the luggages! And it’s heavy to carry around. A digital book reader would hold all these books – and, gasp, more! – in a very tiny and compact and light format. Sweet! Or, if you go to the gym, and want to read while you run, those little book holding thingy don’t hold a book open very well. Ha! A digital book reader would fit nicely and flat on there, and you just flick a finger to turn the page. Now THAT would be fun! (in fact I might want one just for that! Well, assuming I’m going to the gym on a regular basis that is… ahem, moving on.)

One thing that is keeping me from making the plunge though, is the fact that I can’t really try them out first. I think it would be great if libraries had rental digital readers for users to borrow. I would like see first hand how it feels, and if I like it, before investing a few hundred dollars in one. And which one I like best too. Sure, they all pretty much amount to the same thing, but certain features or design might appeal to me more than others.

One type of e-book I DON’T like though, are the e-books meant to be read on your computer with a special reader. I tried it once with a book club book that was just not becoming available through the library. It was cheaper to buy to e-version, and I figured, as good a way as any to try it out. Beuh! Computer screens are not meant for long-term reading, and it’s so NOT portable.