A Good Effort

As a result of my dear husband’s surprise anniversary gift (an iPad2!), I recently found myself in possession of not one, not two, but three electronic reading devices.

Yes indeed, this ravenous reader who once declared she wouldn’t have a Kindle for love nor money, ended up with a Sony Reader, a Nook, and an iPad all within the space of one year.

Well – none of them was a Kindle 🙂

At any rate, I certainly didn’t need all those e-readers, so when my friend C. mentioned the other day that she was thinking of buying a Nook to take with her to China (she and her husband have moved there for three years), I gladly offered up mine.  “Please take it,” I said.  “It’s brand new and gathering dust on my shelf.  I’d love for you to use it.”

In the end, we worked out a trade – she had a just-as-new Galaxy Smart Phone (which wouldn’t work in China) and which I was interested in getting for myself.

So, we swapped.

I’ve started reading Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossypants, on my iPad (the Kindle app version), and I’m not terribly impressed.  Oh, the book is fine – it’s funny, and irreverent, and totally Fey-ish.   But I have to say straight out – I’ve had three e-reading devices now, and I just don’t like the whole e-reading experience.

Nope.  I miss holding the book, I miss turning the pages, I miss feeling the paper, I miss smelling the ink, I miss jotting notes in the margins, I miss, I miss, I miss…

Of the three e-readers, the one that most closely approximated the book reading experience, at least in a tactile sense, was my Sony reader.  It was about the size and heft of a trade paperback, and it had a soft leather cover which made it open just like a book.  I could hold it with my thumb and click the page turn button at the same time. The Nook was heavier (because it had the internet, so it adds weight to contain the whole world wide web in there). It’s touch controlled, so I kept accidentally swiping it the wrong way creating all kinds of havoc.  The iPad neither looks nor feels anything like a book, so in terms of replicating my beloved book reading experience, it falls the shortest of them all.  And I’ll never feel comfortable taking it into the bathtub, which is one of my favorite reading places.

No one can say I didn’t give e-readers a good try.

But in my book, nothing replaces the real thing.

Now tell me true, who really likes e-readers better than real books??  


16 thoughts on “A Good Effort

  1. So glad to read this I’m torn myself. And had to make a big decision– with 5 nonfiction books at Random House. You might know my prizewinning book SPLENDID SLIPPERS first printed in1998 & just reprinted again(6th). Decision I made with my first novel due out next month “That Beautiful Lady Was a Palace Eunuch” was to go with Amazon’s Create Space self publishing. It goes mainly to E books but hard cover U & I prefer is printed on demand
    No warehousing so better price on book. Do U think I chose right? One last thing– at age 82 I was worried about RH or other taking yr or more to get book out!!!

  2. We are a house with out e-readers.

    I admit, I looked, I peeked, I even tried to load a reader for my MAC (just to get an idea) a peek. The software wouldn’t work (it slowed down my computer and then well, I got the hint –not now, my conscience whispered.

    The idea of having all my books to research, search, make notes and highlight –it makes me salivate (I often search for hours for ONE quote, in one book, on our dozens of shelves.) Would I really be able to find such things in the click (or is it touch)?

    So far no e-readers here. We all love the SMELL of books too much. Just last week as we were touring libraries, my 10 year old daughter, upon entering a 40 year old library stopped. looked around and took a deep breathe. “Ahhh,” she said, “the smell of books.” she is SO my daughter.

    Do they have book scented e-readers?

  3. Reading in the bathtub is one of my favorite places to read too! Maybe that’s why I like the winter more than the summer, because the overcast/rainy weather makes me more inclined to take a bath (and refill the bath when the water isn’t hot enough anymore!).

    I gave away my Kindle that I won because I just didn’t see the point in buying more books when I have so many here to read. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from buying physical books when I’m at a bookstore, but I justify it by saying I’m helping the local economy. 😀

    • I am NEVER tempted to buy e-books. But put me inside any place with real , physical books, and I’m lost. My wallet bleeds.

      Are you listening, publishers?

      • Very interesting. I was curious about this exact thing. I crave holding books in my hand. I read a review and realize that I must have a book, at that moment, get it, read it (devour it).

        This is a very good point to make to publishers, you are right. Books (real books) will never disappear e-books are just wonderful tools to be used and appreciated, but not replace books.

  4. I have a kindle and an ipad2, and lots of real books (yup, the ones with the right smell, and the right sound and the right heft), and I like them all. The kindle I love because it has all of western literature (you know what I mean — a lot!) on it. If I want to find something in the Tempest, I can search for it. If I’m curious about David Copperfield, I can read the first chapter, and not have to buy that enormous book. I like the kindle for reading super long books that I probably wouldn’t bring with me when I commute. And it’s fabulous for travel. I really only read books on the ipad when they have pictures. I have this weakness I’ll just admit — it’s to books about fashion. Everything else though — including a lot of things that’ve just come out — 2030, A visit from the Good Squad, Moonwalking with Einstein, too name a few, I found myself just reading in the real form. So, I don’t know how it’ll all play out, but the one thing i HAVE noticed is that I’m reading more. Which is great.

    • I love my e-readers for traveling (of which I do a fair amount) because I never have to worry about running out of something to read. When that happens, I’m not worth living with.

      When I’m home, near the bookstore and the library and my basement bookshelves…I’ll take the real thing, thank you very much.

  5. I, too, began my iPad2 read with Bossypants.

    I, too, will not ultimately be persuaded away from books. Though I will take this machine on my trip with me, and I will read my friends’ manuscripts here, and…. I will continue growing.

  6. ’twill be the end of civilization as we know it if ever the glories that physical paper books and Libraries and book stores excite in us languish at the hands of technology.
    I thoroughly enjoy my B&N Nook Color for all that is. As to its e-reader attributes I enjoy most its cataloging of highlighting and bookmarking of passages for rapid retrieval. Reading in the dark when awake in the middle of the night is another big plus for the Nook Color.
    Owning an e-reader has thrown one wrench into my life: I wrestle with which version to purchase of any given book, for if a book moves me I do need to own the happiness inducing earthy paper version.

  7. I don’t think I had my Nook long enough, nor used it enough to really become accustomed to it. I’m glad Carol has it, and I hope it works for her to get books more easily over there. I’m glad you were able to give her more information about it than I could 🙂

    I feel that way about owning the “paper” version of books I really love, too. Some books I just can’t bring myself to read electronically – I know I’ll need to “feel” the weight of the words in my hands!

  8. I’m admit to being sort of relieved to read this! I can’t do ereaders. They just don’t appeal to me and I’m not much of a traveller anyway. I’m stockpiling books – to my husband’s horror! At least, that’s my excuse…. 🙂

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