Before I continue, let me tell you all that this post is about reading and books. Not whatever else may be going through your mind. So you can either stop reading now, or carry on.
For as long as I can remember, I have been against reading books via eReaders. I’m talking about eBooks, or books that are read on a screen rather than on paper in between two covers. But it seems that with every day that passes, reading books on Kindles or Nooks or iPads are becoming the new trend. In fact, eBooks are now out-selling actual books…you know, the ones that look like this:
In the past, I have always embraced change when it comes to the way we do things. For example, the change from cassette tape to compact disc was easy because the CD sounded so much better, and it was way easier to skip songs I didn’t like. And when the iPod first came out, I was relieved I didn’t have to carry around my huge CD wallet full of 200+ CDs anymore…I could carry it all my pocket and listen to whatever I wanted without having to change the CD.
The same goes for movies. DVDs were loads better than VHSs, and Blu-rays are even better than DVDs. Every time there was an improvement in technology, I was all over it.
But it was different with books.
There’s just something about books that just can’t compare with eReaders. The smell of the pages. The way a book feels in your hands while you read it. The way a well-loved book looks after it’s been read hundreds of times. You just can’t get that from a screen.
I also love the way books look on bookshelves. I’ve had CD stands and DVD towers in my time, but nothing compares to a bookshelf packed with books. I once heard a quote that said, “Never trust a person who doesn’t own books”, or something along that line. And I couldn’t agree more. If I go to someone’s house and I don’t see any bookshelves, my opinion has already been made.
And this is where the eBook comes in. The idea at first seemed so cold to me. Who would want to curl up in bed with a tiny computer screen? How do you dog-ear a page when there are no pages? And what do you put on your bookshelves when you don’t own any books???
Those were my thoughts up until a few days ago…when I received an iPad for Christmas. I was curious, so I went on iBooks and downloaded a free sample from a book I want to read eventually, just to see what it looked like on my iPad.
Well, you can imagine my surprise – and dread – when I realized that…it didn’t look bad at all. In fact, it looked kind of…good. Despite the fact that I couldn’t physically turn a page, it was actually really easy to read. The screen wasn’t bright because I adjusted the brightness of it, and the font was a good size – not super tiny like it is in some books, but not so big where I feel like I’m reading one of those ginormous large-print books, like the one of Mockingjay I accidentally picked up at the library that actually hurt my eyes to read because the letters were so big.
So I did some more browsing and discovered that I can have basically any classic book for free on my iPad. Seriously, you can have books like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Anne of Green Gables totally free. All you have to do is download them, and you have them forever.
So this is where things get interesting. Along with the iPad, I also received a $15 iTunes gift card. As everyone knows, I love my iPod and buy songs whenever I can. iTunes gift cards are always on my wish list. But for some reason this time around I felt a little tapped out when it came to music. Having 20,000 songs on your iPod will do that to you, I guess. So I did something I thought I would never do.
I BOUGHT AN eBOOK.
Two, in fact. That’s right, I actually spent my entire gift card on books that I have to read electronically. And I was excited about it. I was excited that the books cost less than if I were to buy them in a store, and I was excited that I could carry more than one book in my purse. And then things got even more exciting. I found that sometimes you can find books for really cheap, like .99 cents…which I happened to do that same night after browsing the Amazon Kindle store.
Yep, I downloaded the Kindle app for my iPad and bought FOUR .99 cents books from Amazon. I was on a roll! And that means that I have about TEN books in my iPad now, which takes up a lot less room in my purse than ten actual books would. Which is pretty awesome.
But unlike when I made the other technological switches and never went back to the old way (seriously, does anyone even own a VHS player anymore?) I will NEVER stop reading actual books. So many of the books I own mean so much to me, and I can’t imagine not being able to hold them in my hands again. Even if I collect 200 books on my iPad, I won’t stop going to libraries, I won’t stop going to used book sales, and I’ll always keep my bookshelves full.
But it’s nice to know that I have the option of going both ways. Because I’m crazy like that.