eBooks – Taking the Plunge

Kindle Touch
Kindle Touch

I love books.  I love the way that they feel in my hands.  I love how they smell.  To me, every book is a treasure.

Hence, when the eBook craze began I was a doubter.  In fact, I was a fairly vocal critic of the movement.  I couldn’t imagine why anyone would choose to download and read a digital manuscript when they had the option of reading a real book.

Slowly, my resistance has been melting away.

First, my sister-in-law showed me her NOOK eReader.  At first glance, the screen looked like paper.  I was amazed by the E Ink technology, and just how easy it is on my eyes.

Second, I’m running out of space in my home and office.  Since my wife and I became parents, space has been at a premium.  Our home bookshelves are filled with rows of books, one layer piled upon another.  My office bookshelves are also at maximum capacity.  I love to buy and read books, but I’m simply out of space.

Finally, there’s the convenience factor.  We sometimes travel to visit relatives for extended periods of time.  Hauling along a stash of books becomes less feasible when your car is stuffed with strollers, portable cribs and high chairs.

And thus, I have decided to take the plunge and request an eReader as my Christmas present.  I decided to go with the Amazon Kindle Touch, as I already have an Amazon Prime membership, which grants access to an extensive library of eBooks.  We’ll see how this works out.

Even if I fall in love with the Kindle, I don’t foresee paper books vanishing.  There’s something special about owning a creative work in a physical medium.  I love to collect blu-rays and DVDs, and can’t imagine myself not wanting to collect books in the future.  But who knows, I could be wrong.

What has your experience been with eBooks?  Do you foresee them replacing physical books in your own life?

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R Cox
R Cox
3 years ago

Was a hold out but bought a Kobo due to running out of space and it’s the most convenient way of getting books from my local library. But above all e-publishing has led to a renaissance in small short-fiction journals which are now able to operate without overheads like printing and distribution.

Benjamin Clayborne
Benjamin Clayborne
9 years ago

“There’s something special about owning a creative work in a physical medium.  I love to collect blu-rays and DVDs, and can’t imagine myself not wanting to collect books in the future.  But who knows, I could be wrong.”

You’re not “wrong” because you can’t be wrong about what you like. You like collecting physical media; it’s special *to you*. But that’s probably because that’s what you grew up with, and that’s what you’re used to.

But most people, especially those who grow up in a world of e-readers, will not have that experience, and owning only digital versions of media will seem totally normal to them. Hell, I’m 34 and I haven’t bought a physical CD in about five years; I download albums and singles from Amazon’s MP3 store. I’ve had a Kindle for almost three years, and occasionally we’ll buy a physical book if it’s not available on Kindle. The only reason we buy physical DVDs is because we don’t want to pay for a streaming movie service, and the movie industry hasn’t quite figured out that a la carte movie downloads are going to win out eventually.

Books are a slightly different case because they’re one of the only physical media where the medium affects the experience. A movie looks the same on your TV whether or not you bought a physical DVD or stream it off the internet; music sounds the same whether it’s playing through your CD player or as an MP3. (I’m going to ignore the claims of certain folks that they can Hear The Difference.) 

Edgemaker
Edgemaker
9 years ago

I have a Kindle DX myself that I got for my birthday this Year. Overall I am infatuated with it and I like it alot. I have had all kinds of digital books from online that I was not able to find as easily in the physical form. Overall I still like the touch and feel of a book. But in the case of travelling, the kindle is a life saver to have so many books at my disposal on the plane or in the car. and the option of having nice music in the background, while I play it on my Kindle is also welcoming. Overall I think it is good as a travelling option over replacing all physical books dunno. I have subscribed to a website called ForgottenBooks.com and they send me a free pdf every day of an old book and some of the stuff has been very interesting. 

rskimsey
rskimsey
9 years ago

I love my Kindle. I was also skeptical at first, but I am very glad I bought one. I hope you enjoy yours.

Nathan J. Lauffer
9 years ago

As a technologist and recent convert to eBooks and a tablet computing in general, I agree with your decision.  I don’t have an eReader, but I used the Kindle App on my iPad 2 and my Android phone.  Amazon made a great decision, in that it keeps your purchases (as well as other data, such as your place in each book) in the cloud and allows you to synchronize between devices.  I have the same issues you do in that I have more physical books than my house can hold (or that I can even read, to be honest).  And, eReading is perfect for the bus that I take to and from work (~45 minutes – 1 hour commute). eInk is a great technology.  My device doesn’t have it, but generally the iPad 2 is pretty clear, except possibly in the sun.  However, I’m a nerd and generally don’t like the sun.  😉

I do sometimes read regular books on the bus, and I can definitely say that it’s easier to read from my tablet (which is easier to carry around than books and is self-lit).

If I know the author (or someone in the book), think I’ll be lending the book out, or it’s a book with a lot of images (such as a graphic novel), I’ll get the physical version, though.  Also, my parents like to buy me books but aren’t technologically accustomed to eBooks.  So, I just ask for regular books from them for things like Christmas.

starconstant
starconstant
9 years ago

I’m currently diagnosed with ross river and chronic fatigue syndrome. My hands are effected, making it hard to hold a book (I never realised how much of a strain it can be to bend a book open!) that’s over 400 pages – which most of my books are.

Reading on an eReader makes it possible to read for as long as I want to, as I can just prop it up and tap for the page turns. I’ll always buy books in paperbook form, and I still prefer them by far, but eReaders are fantastic for those who are ill 🙂

Telcontar
Telcontar
9 years ago

Likewise skeptical, though I wouldn’t say I was a critic. Times change and so do methods, I’m not about to criticism new things – too easy to end up on the wrong side of progress. 😉

I also was very, very impressed with eInk displays. Looks amazing. The thing that made me actually start looking for an eReader to buy, though, was the collapse of Borders. They were my closest and favorite bookstore (their flagship store, in fact, in Ann Arbor) and with that gone, I need another way to browse for new reading.

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