This ereading thang …

writingUntil I began this book project, I didn’t know there was an ereader vs. real book debate. I just assumed we were all living in a harmoniously fine balance of both. Upon further investigation, I discovered some people take it very seriously and have pledged their devotion to one or the other.

I am currently reading all of the classic books for my challenge on an ereader. I can’t deny its practicality, but I read some compelling comments against ereaders:

  • I don’t know what my best friend is reading. Now I have to ask her.
  • My friend has one and gets a headache after reading for 8 hours.
  • When I’m waiting in line for help at B&N, the line is usually backed up because someone is having a problem with their Kindle or Nook – again!
  • I hate HATE the fact that you have to turn the ereader on and wait and wait and wait for it to load.
  • I’m not sure if this is true but I heard you can get cancer looking at a screen for too long.

Of course, everyone talks about the sensual experience of books and how ereading feels just plain weird:

  • I love flipping through the pages and flipping back to look at something.
  • Ereaders irritate my hands. Or maybe that’s the psoriasis.
  • You can actually SEE illustrations in a real book.
  • I don’t want to swipe my finger on anything.
  • My apartment would feel so empty without the stacks of books blocking the bathroom.
  • The smell! You can’t smell an ereader!

As if there were no other physical objects in the world we could fondle or sniff!

But I understand the tactile pleasure of the real book experience. I also remember winter nights as a kid cozying up with a real book with a cover you intensely studied and pages you were careful not to bend. Yet like a summer lover, once we’ve had our way, doesn’t that book just sit lonely on the shelf collecting dust anyway? Maybe to be read again, maybe not?

My ereader is old, clunky and the navigation is equivalent to driving your grandpa’s rusty station wagon. It doesn’t have a touch screen, a dictionary or the ability to search. If I want to go back to read something again, I can’t without a tortuous process of manoeuvring through chapters and pushing buttons. Sometimes I turn off the reader in the middle of a chapter and find myself back to the beginning when I turn it on again.

The only reason I have an ereader is because it was given to me. The classic books were preloaded and ready to go. Truthfully, I can’t say whether I would have ever bought one for myself. I never once thought “I want that!” when ereaders started hitting the market.

For years I had only been reading “information” thinking I had no time in my life for books. I feel it was so serendipitous to be given the ereader and inspired to read every single one of the classic books. The ereader has done me a huge favour. It has brought me back to books (real and not real) which has brought me back to reading which has brought me back to writing which has brought me over to social media which has brought me over to people (hopefully real). All in new and fascinating ways I could have never imagined.


8 comments on “This ereading thang …

  1. Angus Miranda
    February 9, 2013

    I don’t own an e-reader, but probably I will accept gifts from friends, haha. I think I would use it for hard-to-find classics that I’m interested to read. Currently, I don’t have any intentions of buying one just because I still have too many books blocking the bathroom. But yes, nothing against them. Different folks, different strokes. As long as people are reading, I’m happy. 🙂


    • ebookclassics
      February 9, 2013

      Ha ha…yes, if someone would like to give me a new ereader, I won’t turn it down! I agree with you completely, it doesn’t matter how people are reading, let’s all just keep reading.


  2. Eszter
    February 9, 2013

    Love your post. I pledged to read the printed word, because I love, love, love good quality hardcovers. Nevertheless, sometimes I read ebooks, because they are free and easy to carry. I don’t own an ereader yet, because I’m afraid I would buy even more books than now. I read the ebooks on my computer or on my smart phone. I also must confess, I am more and more tempted to buy an ereader…


    • ebookclassics
      February 10, 2013

      It sounds like you are enjoying the best of both worlds right now. If I was going to buy an ereader, I wouldn’t know where to start. Most people I know are still reading real books or ebooks on a tablet. The majority of people I have seen on the train are using Kobo ereaders and that’s probably a Canadian thing.


  3. Emily @ Classics and Beyond
    February 9, 2013

    I used to be a firm devotee of the printed page, but now I admit that there are plenty of advantages to ereaders. I don’t have one myself (for the same reasons you said you wouldn’t personally buy one, and I haven’t been given one–yet) but if I did, I’m sure I would like it. Sometimes it’s just too much of a hassle to carry around a hardback, 500-page classic.


    • ebookclassics
      February 10, 2013

      A 500-page tome in your purse definitely equals one sore shoulder at the end of the day. It has always been a nice surprise to be at the doctor’s office and discover my ereader in my purse. It is so light, I sometimes forget it’s in there! It sounds like we all need someone to give us an ereader … just to test drive. 🙂


  4. Jorie
    September 3, 2013

    Ooh, my goodness! Your not the typical e-reader I have come across, and I am thankful to have stumbled across this post tonight!! I love the backstory on how you were gifted the e-reader, and how it has led you to a bounty of blessings and goodwill! I love stories such as these, because they’re the honest truths that we all live and experience, but so oft, are not readily known to know about each other!

    For me, the main issue I have with e-readers is the fact its a technologic gadget that I’d immediately have issues with due to my eyes not being able to read on a screen for any extended period of time. Secondly, for me, and this truly is a personal reason, I love to curl up with a book, in the peaceful quiet of not having any tech near me, nestled into my imagination, left to my own thoughts and musings, and wander a bit around someone’s vision of the story they wanted to give to us to seek out and enjoy. I might sip a cuppa tea, I might only have a few lights on, but in the end, its just this peaceful tranquil experience.

    I have noticed this debate going on myself, and I’m using involved in on it, from the sidelines. Either to defend the fact I am a ‘traditional reader’ or to question why publishers are only releasing book prequels in e-book formats, when Heartsong Presents is thriving!! I’d rather have book equality for all, than to have a measure of a standard only set to be for one. Ironically, I only started having to say “I’m a traditional reader” since I started becoming active in the blogosphere last November! Up until then, I was simply “a reader of bookish interests”!!

    Of course too, I am in the minority at my library as well. I rally for books, others rally for less physical books and more e-books. Sighs. I am thinking it will continue to go on and on. Like I said, I’d rather have an equal balance between both formats which would satisfy everyone!! 🙂 Its the same to be said, if your not on twitter or FB but you choose to have a blog, and you encourage comments, than that is a form of social media, too! 🙂 Why does it always have to be a choice between either/or, when it can be and/or!?

    As for my friends, those who have e-readers, a few have mentioned to me they do not retain the memory of the stories they read, and are starting to wonder why they do not shift back to books. I cannot stipulate one way or the other on that, as like I have hinted at, I do not own an e-reader nor will I ever. Its just not my cuppa tea, though neither are cell phones! Laughs. I do rally behind e-readers as a new way to help children read who have learning difficulties or for adults who need an alternative way to read. The same way I support audiobooks, graphic novels, comics, and braille. Two of these (comics and graphic novels) help children and adults focus on longer stories if they have issues with ADHD.

    I think even without learning difficulties, if a person finds a niche with an e-reader, and that brings them as much joy as a book gives to me in its physical form, than we should at least celebrate the fact we’re all a community of readers who appreciate the written word.


    • ebookclassics
      September 4, 2013

      I love the ereader because it’s light and convenient to carry. It lets me get the job done and that’s what I want to do most of the time. I’m also limited to the preloaded books on the ereader, so if I want to read a different version or translation, I would have to download it. But I’ve decided to just stick with the books as is.

      For a more sensual experience, I think physical books are the way to go. But at the moment, I haven’t been missing them. But this may be because I read a lot to my kids.


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This entry was posted on February 9, 2013 by in Headlines.

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