I recently purchased an iPad. To be honest, I’m completely in love with it. I have an iPhone as well (what can I say, I’m a slave to the Apple), but I love how big everything is on the iPad and I have everything I need at my fingertips. But this new amazing purchase has left me with a dilemma of epic proportions (in my mind). How do I read my books now??!!
I’ve always said that I would never, ever, EVER buy an e-book reader. I love the feel of a book. I love the smell of a book. And I’m afraid that if I join the masses of people who have converted to e-book readers, the days of my beloved paperbacks will be numbered. I mean, why print books when it is so much more convenient for the consumer and more cost-effective for the publishers, to just have a digital copy that everyone can download. Also, the book you’re after will never be out of stock in your local book shop, you want run out of space in your rapidly growing library of bookshelves, and e-readers are so portable and small, you can take them just about anywhere with you. What’s not to love about them? I also think the fact that they are much cheaper to purchase than the printed version is a major drawcard for most people.
I’ll admit that all the reasons above are enough to sway me and does sound like I have been swayed. I will also admit that I have started reading books on my iPad. I travel for over 2 hours everyday for work and for a commuter, the convenience that it offers is great. It’s so easy to read when I’m sandwiched between two people on a seat and even better on those occasions when I don’t get a seat. It’s so much easier t hold and with the touch of a button I can turn the page without having to let go of what little hold I have on the train which prevents me from falling over.
But as convenient, cheap and space-saving the e-reader is, it will never feel as special as walking through the book store and selecting that book (I never borrow books from the library as I don’t know WHERE they’ve been). Imagine it, you wander the countless aisles debating what you should read. Will you select a classic like Tolstoy, something more modern like King? Do you want romance, horror, comedy? A quick read or a slow one? An obscure author or someone you’ve read a thousand times? After spending a stupid amount of time wandering around in a world of your own, you make a careful selection and take your new book home. The house is quiet when you walk in – no one is home. The t.v. stays off, you cook yourself a simple meal (pasta and cheese if you are me) and pour a glass of wine. You curl up on the lounge and then…you have two options. You could pick up that new book you just purchased, curl the pages around your fingers and immerse yourself in the story, or you could pick that cold, hard e-reader, then immerse yourself in the story. Also, imagine taking your e-reader in the bath. What if your drop it? Basically it’s fried. Drop a book in there, well the situation’s not that much better, but you can get a hair dryer onto it and hope for the best.
Do you see what I mean about comfort vs convenience? An e-reader will never give you the comfort that a book does. Every time I pick up a book, it feels like a hug. My iPad feels like a hand shake. They both have their pros and cons I guess. Maybe I’ll just take advantage of both…books for home and when I’ve had a terrible day, and my iPad for the long trek back home after a hard days work.