My Reluctant Conversion to Ebooks

 

Woman Reading Book by C. Coles Philip

I lament the loss of texture. With our touch screen world, it is becoming rarer and rarer to feel the push buttons of a telephone, an ATM, or a debit card machine; the click of a mouse rather than the flat touchpad that moves my cursor around this screen; and especially the rough or smooth pages of a yellow-paged novel.

Sitting on the beach yesterday, I considered how particular environments are best suited to having a paperback instead of an ebook reader in hand. And why was I thinking this? Because in spite of my woes about the computer screen/virtual world, I was reading from my husband’s nook and hoping that the salty air and sand wouldn’t damage my portable electronic.

I was considering the same question when I got home, settled into a hot bath to get all the sticky sand off my body, and read from my nook. One slip of my hand and splash! ereader ruined. But I was really careful.

So why am I reading ebooks instead of my preferred texture-rich novels? I have to admit that it’s convenient.

My aging eyes. Now that I’m old enough to require reading glasses, I have to hunt them down to open up a book and read the 9-point font that someone in the publishing world thought was legible. With an ebook reader, I simply click on Preferences, increase the font size, and voila! easy to read and no glasses needed.

Multiple books/one device. I can juggle two books at a time with one device. I do NOT read more than one fiction book at a time. (I get confused!) But I am often reading one fiction and one non-fiction simultaneously. In this case, I can carry around one book-sized device and go between Story Engineering by Larry Brooks and Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore with a few simple clicks.

Easy purchasing. My prior fiction purchases involved a trip to the bookstore (a favorite outing indeed) or an online purchase from Amazon.com and waiting a few days for my order to arrive. Now, however, if I don’t have time for a long browse in a bookstore or want to cater to my natural impatience, I can click, click, click on my nook and in mere moments the book appears on my screen, ready to read. Ebooks are often less expensive nowadays as well.

Change happens. I grew up in a family that was usually the first one on the street with a new gadget. We had a microwave very soon after they came out, even if it was the size of a small truck and cost the same as a Mediterrean cruise. But for myself, I’m usually in the middle — not the first one out, not the last one in. What I am not, though, is the person dragged kicking and screaming into modernity. You know, those people who just recently bought a cell phone or booted up their first computer. Like it or not, a lot of books are only available in ebook form and more and more authors and publishers are moving in that direction every day. So I have my nook, and I’m ready.

I suppose I can stroke a rough sponge, rub blank pieces of paper, or feel my legs right before I shave if I get an extreme desire for texture. I have a feeling I will be getting texture less and less from my fiction. Thankfully, the content is still enjoyable, no matter what the form of delivery.

(Note: I have extreme doubts about ebooks for children’s books, however. How do you present Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt or The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle in ebook form?)

Here are the fiction books I have recently read on my nook:

Making Waves by Tawna Fenske.  A quirky romance novel with corporate castoffs, a pirate mission, a beautiful stowaway, and a great Battleship game scene.  This is not my usual genre, but I enjoyed the book immensely.  Fenske’s protagonist is sassy, savvy, and sexy all the way through.

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs.  A young mermaid lives with her aunt and attends “terraped” high school.  But her 18th birthday is looming, and she needs to find a mate so she can attain her rightful place as heir to an undersea kingdom.  She’s got her target in sight, but can she reel him in?  Childs has written a wonderful young adult novel with relatable characters and believable mermaid behaviors (loved all the fish references).  I will also be checking out her sequel entitled Fins Are Forever.

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore.  I’m in the middle of this one, but so far it’s hard to put down.  A college-aged girl and her sister, both kitchen witches, housesit at their quirky aunt’s Texas ranch.  When some bones are uncovered at the neighboring ranch, they get more than the usual easygoing ghost.  If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I have truly enjoyed Rosemary’s books.  Her writing is right up my alley.

How do you feel about the switchover from traditional books to ebooks?  Do you own an ebook reader?  How do you like it?  Do you think moving to ebooks is a good trend overall?  How do you think that ebooks will affect readers, the publishing world, or authors?

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9 thoughts on “My Reluctant Conversion to Ebooks

  1. Part of me is sad. I love the smell of a book. I also love holding it in my hand as I read.However…(you knew that was coming)* My wrist tends to hurt more often when I read for long periods of time. * Nowadays, there are just as many good books being released as Ebooks only. (Tried Kait Nolan yet?) * The font adjustment on Ebooks is a definite plus.* An ebook reader is more portable (slips right into your purse) than a 500 page paperback. As you said, though, there are times you'd rather have a paperback–preferably a used one–in case it gets ruined.

  2. I resisted for a long time too but my wife got the urge for an e-reader early on. Two years ago I got a Kindle for her for Christmas and while it was OK for her, I still wasn't interested. It wasn't till something I wanted to read bad came out and I couldn't find the time to hit the bookstore that I gave in, borrowed her Kindle and downloaded it. The experience didn't kill me. Then came the 5 day business trip…this is what sold me. I could carry multiple books with me, many of which were only available in hardback, while taking less space in my carry-on than a single book. In this day of charging for every bag you check, space on business trips is at a premium.I broke down and put a Kindle on my Christmas list and the wife hooked me up this last December. Since then, I have discovered websites where you can legally download books for free.I still buy traditional books but only the really good ones and I often read them on Kindle anyway to protect the physical book.

  3. Bah, I am also reluctant. I love new gadgets and technology, but ebooks make me want to start scowling like a curmudgeonly Luddite. I like the way books smell. I like the way that they age. I like looking at the different typefaces that were chosen, and wondering why. And I like watching my books age, noting how and where the spine breaks, because it makes me feel like the books have been loved.But. But, but, but. Books are heavy. The last time I visited my parents I brought four paper grocery bags filled with books, and they took up a lot of space. Also, now that I'm starting to build relationships with self-published folks, I want to read their work, and using the kindle app on my cell phone or laptop just isn't the same.So I've decided that I'm going to pick up an ereader sometime next month. And who knows, maybe I'll fall in love with it.

  4. You are hilarious–touching your pre-shaven leg for texture. Ha! I got a Nook for Christmas and I love, love, love the instant ability to purchase a book. I do, however, miss the browsing capability of a bookstore where I could pick up a book, look at the cover, and feel the pages. There are even times I will read a book just because I like the way it feels in my hand. Weird? Maybe.I'm like you, I have a love-hate relationship with the thing.Oh, and Tawna Fenske's book is on my to-read list. In fact, I have a long car ride in my future, I may have to download it soon :).

  5. My Kindle is in my purse, a hardback on the nightstand, and a paperback in my basket of bath products on the side of my tub. I, too, fought the "change" and have to say…I love my Kindle. One click "whispernet" purchasing and font adjustment makes my new release immediate, and my tired eyes can still read without glasses pinching my nose. However, I do love the smell of paper, like Catie, and if I'm in the middle of a series, I have to buy to "match." Querky, I know.

  6. My Kindle was a gift (my husband is appaled at my reluctance to join the technological revolution. He gave me an ipod, also, which I used 3 times and now he uses it since he lost his…) and I still have not saved enough money buying ebooks to warrant the price of it. Like you, Julie, I am too fearful of damaging it and losing ALL the books I'd downloaded. I do say it has its place, but give me a good old-fashioned paperback any day!

  7. I see that I am not alone! So many of us are getting on the bandwagon, but we also want to drag our entire library of "real" books along with us.@Jamila – I had never thought about font choice, but you're right. I like how tangible books have different fonts, whereas my nook allows you to choose from a few options.@Bob – Yep, a business trip will do that. In fact, I think business travelers were among the first ones to adapt to ebook readers fairly quickly. They immediately understood the advantage of portability and immediate downloads.@Jayne – I have wondered if the advent of paperbacks made hard book cover advocates lament. I agree with you, though; I like a nice sturdy paperback.Y'all will be happy to note that my recent trip to Borders (sad it's closing) resulted in me walking out with EIGHT bona fide books.I do wonder if bookcases will become a thing of the past, kind of like our old entertainment center which housed what we once thought was a massive TV of 27".

  8. Hi Julie!I used to think I'd never switch over to ereaders, but the newer versions and other reader experiences, like yours, are making me a convert. I've put an ereader on my birthday wishlist (September).

  9. I am a reluctant participator in the ebook movement. I love books… dog ears, pencil marks and all. But I'm slowly coming around.I do enjoy my Kindle. Reading in bed is easier (light less annoying to my hubby than any book light I've ever had). But I don't dare take it near the tub (where I also do quite a bit of reading).Biggest issue I've come across… can't have it on for a good 40mins-1hr of a flight, and I read a lot on planes. Minor problem, I guess, especially considering how much lighter my carry-on bags are now.Great post!

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