Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I just can't let go...

I was standing on the train platform yesterday, anxious for it to come so that I could get on and get back to my Harry Potter book, which I couldn't do beforehand because I was holding too many things that would make turning pages difficult--when something caught my eye.

The girl next to me had a fancy little contraption in a brown leather case, which she held with one hand, her purse slung over her shoulder and two additional bags resting comfortably on her other arm. Every now and again, she would click something with her thumb, but apart from that, there was no other movement.

Yes--as you may have already guessed--it was an e-reader.

When the train arrived, I settled in and pulled out my book, which I had hastily shoved into my bag that morning and now had a nice crease on the right hand corner. The same girl sat down across from me just as I was thinking that would never happen with an e-reader.

I know this is nothing new, and this topic has probably been exhausted by now, but I guess I've been avoiding reality. The truth is, I like holding the books, I like the smell of them and the way they feel in your hands. I love walking into a bookstore and not knowing which aisle to go to first, and wondering which treasure I'll take home that day, and when I'll be able to come back for more.

And while I know they're better for the planet, more portable and economic, I just can't make myself convert. I can't imagine holding a screen in my hands and not being able to turn pages (even though they sometimes pose an inconvenience--it adds to the whole experience!).

It's inevitable, but I'm not ready to cross that bridge yet. It may burn, and I may still be standing on the other side, but that's another story for another day.

What's your take on this? Is this the future of books? Have you switched over to an e-reader as yet, or are you like me, and can't relinquish that indescribable bind you feel to real, tangible, old fashioned books?

23 comments:

Tabitha Bird said...

E-readers are just really expensive in Australia. I am not opposed to them. But I could buy soooo many books for the cost of a e-reader here.

Erinn said...

I have an e-reader. I have a nook. I don't use it a lot. Mostly be there aren't a lot of YA book available on them. After the itintal cost, the books are much cheaper and it does take up a lot less space.

I think e-books is exactly like the MP3 player to the music industry. I think there will always be phsycial books as well as ebooks. Like how there's still records and CD.

Sandra Cox said...

I'm a paper girl, but I would like an e reader. I'm just waiting for the Kindle to drop a tad more.

Mesmerix said...

I only buy books that I really enjoy, by authors I know and want to financially support, or those I get signed. Otherwise, I'm a library girl. I just do not have the space needed for all the books I truly want.

My goal is to eventually convert to ebook so that I can purchase more books, support my beloved fellow writers, and conserve space. I'm looking to by Notion Ink's Adam tablet this fall when it's released.

For me, ebooks are a blessed answer to the disease of TMS (Too Much Stuff).

Suzi McGowen said...

I love my Kindle (I was an early adopter). I won't even buy physical books anymore (unless they have lots of pictures).

The only thing I miss are the covers. I rarely see the cover of a Kindle book, so sometimes I have a hard time remembering which Dean Koontz book was which :)

Do I love the smell of old books? Yes!
Do modern paperback have a smell to me? No!
Do I hate the way modern paperbacks fall apart so quickly? Yes!
Will I get rid of my first edition OZ books? No!
Does my husband think I'm soulless for reading on a Kindle instead of "real books"? Yes! :)

Christina Lee said...

Iam going to do an up-coming post on the pros and cons of them. I like a mixture of both, for different reasons. The situation you just described is one of them.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I have an e-reader that I've had for about ayear or two. I really love it, but I buy regular books too, just not as many.

Liza said...

You wrote the words. "It's inevitable." It's just a matter of time.

Jemi Fraser said...

I want an ereader mostly because I have several friends who are publishing their books to ereader versions only.

I do love my regular books, but I also want to support my friends :)

Kenda said...

Funny, just the other day I mentioned to my husband that I might be about ready to get an ereader--I'm accumulating so many titles of books I want to read, but just do not have any more room to shelve them!

Davin Malasarn said...

I still love the print books, but I find myself thinking much more highly of e-books, so my own perceptions must be changing. I had actually borrowed a Kindle the other day to read something, and I realized that for some books it would be great. I think I'll get a Kindle and use it to store the books that I would consider more junky. But, I also plan to keep collecting beautiful books like Children's books and literary books and will probably also still rely on print for books that I really want to investigate thoroughly or take notes in.

Jan Markley said...

I have to get through my to-be-read pile before I think of getting an e-reader!

Dawn Simon said...

I totally get the feel of a real book, smell of a real book, looks of a real book thing. That said, I want to get a Kindle and have that option too. I've heard there's actually less eye strain with a Kindle (I had guessed there would be more), which is a definite perk. I'm waiting for the price to drop.

And Harry Potter! I love, love, love those books. Enjoy!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I prefer real books and still buy most in hardback. However, I do own an iPad and have downloaded several books from the iBookstore. I can't imagine spending a lot of money on a device that only reads books, but I'm glad my iPad came with a kick-butt eReader.

Melissa Gill said...

I can't wait to get an e-reader myself. I read a lot in places where it would be so much easier to have it in electronic form. I like to read on the treadmill for instance, and books are so bulky. So once I have the funds, I'm getting an e-reader.

Amanda Sablan said...

I'm with you 100%. The feel, smell, and look of a book trumps an e-reader any day of the week. And I LOVE the anticipation of going to and being in a bookstore!

We stare at enough screens in one day.

Nathalie said...

My weakness is a bookstore. I love jacket flipping, category jumping with a single side-step and the feel of a heavy book in my hands. Although e-readers are inevitable for most, I hope they never replace the written word. There's something about contorting your arm and hand when lying down in bed at night with a not-bright-enough lamp, reading to lull yourself to sleep.

The Words Crafter said...

I was reading some author's comments about this very thing somewhere last week. He observed that a trend did seem to lean toward the new e-readers. He also observed that people will always buy actual books, himself included.

Me-I have a few ebooks in PDF on my 'puter. They're not available in book forms. For that reason, I applaud ebooks/readers.

However, I will ALWAYS prefer books. The first thing I do with a new one or one from the library is open it in the middle and stick my nose in the crease and inhale. They have a smell, like adventure and mystery. (Probably the glue, but hey, I like it!)

Many of my older ones have smudges where I've eaten while going through Middle Earth or someplace. I've fallen asleep with them, something to avoid with an ereader. And actual books you can loan out-no one would get my kindle or nook. And, if you wait long enough, the book always gets issued in paperback, which is usually less than the price of a new release on a reader....when you hold a book in your hands, you're holding all the magic contained inside a whole world. Can a reader do that? Nah...

Melissa said...

My uncle bought me an EREADER for my birthday last year. I actually really like it and it holds word documents so it's great for editing my own manuscript away from my computer with handwritten notes without printing a bunch of paper.

But nothing, nothing will ever get me to stop going to the bookstore to buy books. I'll take a real book over the electronic version ANY day. I love cracking a book, the weight in my hand. It is everything I love.

So, I'll straddle both sides with my weight leaning more towards tradition then new age.

notesfromnadir said...

I think ereaders are getting increasingly popular as I noticed this spring when watching AMERICAN IDOL & seeing commercials for Kindle. I also saw full page ads for Kindle in PEOPLE magazine.

But I love the smell and feel of paperbacks and hardcovers.

We're lucky, we can have ereaders and books.

Theresa Milstein said...

I can see the whole scene. I'm sure e-readers have their pluses, like in your situation. But I'm like you - I love the feel and smell of books. I can't imagine getting an e-reader. You never know.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I love the smell of leather bound books. I love the colorful artwork on the covers of hardbacks and paperbacks.

But I have a Kindle.

I have nearly 200 books on it. It fits neatly in the backpack I carry with me on my blood runs. And when I have to wait for the transfer courier to arrive, I have a huge selection of fiction and non-fiction to choose from.

I can download the first chapter for free, sparing me turkeys usually. I get free wireless, so if another hurricane sends me fleeing from my city, I can check on the internet to see how my town has survived.

I can read a review of a new book on the internet, download the first chapter for free -- and then if I like it, I can download it for a third or half the price in under a minute -- no trek to a distant bookstore.

My Kindle is a daily companion, Roland

The Red Angel said...

I simply do not like e-books. Like you, I enjoy the feel of the real book in my hand, the smell of paper and the feel of my hand turning the page (not a "page" on the screen) as I anticipate what happens next. So I definitely know what you mean.

~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com