E-book vs. Paper?

My current "to-read" pile

If you had asked me two years ago “Would you ever buy an e-reader?” I would have answered with a resounding and decided “No!

No need to think; no questions asked. I saw it as an outright betrayal of my beloved paperbacks to even consider cheating on them with some electronic device masquerading as a novel. Without exception, a screen could never replace the feeling of turning pages and the smell of a room full of books.

A year ago, my answer would have been a little slower, a little more undecided, an “I couldn’t possibly do that…” formed more from guilt than resolution and slowly wavering in the face of technology.

Little by little, I struggled to remember the reasons I had been so against e-readers not so long ago. As I attempted to juggle my two loves ~ reading and knitting ~ by holding pages open with my feet while knitting and pausing constantly to turn pages (I know, I sound like a monkey) the appeal of the “feeling of turning pages” began to dwindle and the concept of buying an e-reader became a guilty, secret desire.

My first encounter one-on-one pushed me closer to the line of becoming a “betrayer of books”. Prior to Borders closing down in my home town (which my Father continues to blame me for) they began stocking the Kobo e-reader. Right next to the entrance. Unavoidable. At first I picked them up just out of idle curiousity. After a while, I was visiting the mall just to visit my forbidden friend and to court the possibility of doing the unthinkable. The main flaw that I noticed almost straight away: the very delayed flicker of the screen each time the page was turned made me think I was going to have a seizure. Despite this, I was convinced, and spent an entire grocery shopping trip sulking because I wasn’t allowed to buy the desperately-needed object of my desire.

If I wasn't already won over, this would have done it in an instant: The realisation of why it is called a "Kindle" in the definition on the homescreen - "Light or set fire. Arouse or inspire."

After a very melodramatic walk home the more sensible version of Mrs Gwynn stepped in and the research began. The screen flicker was the most frustrating aspect of the Kobo from what I could see, but the more I read, the more I realised it wasn’t the e-reader for me. The keypad was rumoured to be inconvenient and annoying, and the number of books accessible wasn’t as high as I “needed“. The Kindle on the other hand… well, lets just say, after a few blogs and showing my husband the more technical details, I began the longest week of my life as I waited for the slip of paper to be in my mailbox one evening telling me that I could pick up my new best friend from the post office.

Has it proven to be all I expected? Perhaps it would be dramatic to sigh, “and more!” as I gaze at my beloved Kindle, but it is the truth! No more need to pack an entire backback just for books on every trip we go on (just in case); no more being called a Grandma-Monkey for holding my books open with my toes while rib-stitching a scarf; no more need to request a new bookcase once a year… And while I do sometimes miss the feel of a paperback in my hands, its not like I have to choose one or the other for the rest of my life. And when it comes down to it, the joy of reading a book is in becoming so entranced, so immersed in another world, that you no longer notice whether you are turning a paper page, or pressing a button.

Last Christmas, due to my self-challenge to read 1,001 books before turning 30, I almost all of the gifts I requested (and received) were paperbacks. A huge pile. Christmas 2011 was my first Christmas, possibly in my entire life, where I didn’t receive a single book. But since I still haven’t read most of the ones I got a year ago (thanks to the Kindle arriving in my heart soon afterwards) it is probably for the best.

Plus, I did get a new lamp for my Kindle  ♥

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