Sunday, July 24, 2011

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Ereader




Ok, I admit it. I’m an old-fashioned kind of girl. Or, let’s put it another way – I like the classics, tradition, the tried-and-true. And so I am not always enamoured of the latest fad to come along. I fought ATM’s, cellphones, laptop computers. All of them seemed unnecessary, somehow, to my way of thinking.
For example, the first cellphone I got seemed like nothing but a leash whereby my boss could keep me at his beck and call 24/7. Later, especially once I had teenagers, I reluctantly admitted that they could be useful. My daughters always have a way to get in touch with me and their dad should a date get unpleasant or a party lurch out of control. So, yes, Luddite that I am, I will give credit where it is due.
I was likewise not-too-sure about ebooks. Part of the pleasure is the feel of the cover, the turning of the pages, the whole ritual of reading a print book. I have had a life-long love affair with the printed word, and I was reluctant to let this smooth-talking trendy substitute have a shot at my affections.
So I got an ereader, and I have to say I enjoyed it. It was kind of nice, being able to switch font sizes depending on whether I had my reading glasses or not. (Yes, at a certain age, my arms suddenly got too short for comfortable reading.) Once I figured out that I could put it into a ziplock baggie, the ebook was even better for one of my greatest pleasures – reading in a bubble bath. No more curling pages or swollen spines from a print book getting damp!
But it took a flight to Houston recently to convince me that ebooks actually have the upper hand in the battle for my devotion. See, airplanes are boring in the extreme. Can’t get up, don’t want to invite unwelcome attention from the very odd individual I always get assigned to sit by, and only one carry-on allowed. So when I got stuck on the lovely tarmac waiting for the airline powers that be to do whatever they had trouble accomplishing, I did the unthinkable – I finished my book! Ye gods and little fishes! In the past, I would have been chewing the armrest with boredom. Or, even worse, I might have succumbed to the horror of reading about smokeless ashtrays and Lord of the Rings Replica Swords in the Sky Shop magazine.
But lucky me – I didn’t have my trusty print book with me. I had thrown my ereader into my carry on that morning. So when I finished my historical romance, I simply turned to my library list. Hmm, did I want another romance? Or perhaps a really thrilling suspense, or a self-improvement? (God knows, my self could use some improvement!) No, I decided, as I hit the button to open a nice escapist sci-fi.
As I lost myself in the tale of a brave hero seeking adventure and his one true love out amongst the stars, I realized that I had found the best reason yet to surrender to the digital revolution. In one tiny little ereader, about the size and weight of a trade paperback, I had 400+ books, all personally selected by me, available whenever I wanted them. I had the classics, I had the latest bestsellers. And anywhere wi-fi was available, I could get myself some more.
For a child who grew up out in the boonies, counting the days until the next stop by the bookmobile, this was riches indeed! I felt like Cleopatra wandering the aisles of the Alexandria Library. All this treasure, all mine!
So, my dear readers, if you have been reluctant to make the plunge into digital, I’m telling you that it is time. If you fail to take my advice and get stuck on an unmoving airplane for 4 hours with nothing to do but check out the Sky Shop ads for elevator shoes and pet beds, don’t blame me!

6 comments:

Big Mike said...

I had my last cell phone for a decade until they no longer sold batteries for it. Now I have an Iphone cause my wife hounded me into getting one....and she was right, I luv it.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year, (2008 and 2009)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I find all kinds of value in my Kindle: font size, instant purchase, looking up areas to re-read and portability. I bought the leather cover because I'm a fumble fingered fogy, but the extra weight is nothing compared to lugging paperbacks.

Caution just don't put it down and forget it. Mine is old, 3-G, so it might get confused and go with strangers.

January Bain said...

We do live in amazing times. So many advances that puts a library (my idea of infinity) at our finger tips. Great blog!

Allison said...

I fell in love with an ereader years ago, back when they weighted as much as a thick hard cover. The convenience of turning pages with my thumb was what sold me. Now the chance to change font size, the weight, reading selection... I could go on and on. And I'm cheap.
e-books cost a lot less. I can buy more for my money. Terrible, aren't I?

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Loved your post, Arabella! Much as I love my print books, I'm totally converted to the Kindle too - so many advantages. But it's great that we can choose to have both kinds of reading!

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