I used to love getting books for Christmas. I usually only needed one — more than that and I’d have to choose what to read first (although that was a nice problem to have). One of my favorite Christmas pleasures was sitting down with a glass of eggnog after all the presents had been opened and the calls to long-distance relatives to exchange holiday greetings and compare loot had been made, and cracking open a new literary adventure.
I remember becoming totally absorbed in Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones a few years ago and reading almost half the book (quite a feat for a slow reader like me). I also remember being unable to put down The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown or The Dark Half by Stephen King shortly after opening their covers on Christmas Day. A good read transports you away in pleasureable fashion, even if the places you go are dark or unsettling.
This Christmas, the prospect is even more exciting. I gave a Kindle 3G last year, not realizing the market for e-readers was exploding. Now I want one myself, but I’d prefer a Kindle Fire, a Nook Color, or (better still) an iPad. I want to be able to do all those nifty things like surf the internet, read email, and maybe download movies.
But it’s really about being able to read. I have the Kindle app on my laptop, and I enjoy it, but reading a book on the computer isn’t the same as on an e-reader. Nothing will ever replace the tactile sensation of reading a traditional book or that new-paper smell that comes with a new purchase (or the old-paper smell of one bought at a used bookstore).
Smells and feelings aside, e-readers do a pretty good job of replicating the sensation of traditional reading. They are light and easily held in the hand. Turning a page involves swiping the screen.
Best of all, they can hold hundreds, maybe thousands of books in a single, compact space. I don’t have to buy bookshelves and wonder where they will go. E-readers travel easily.
In short, I want one.
The best part about e-readers, though, is that you can get books cheaply. It’s no longer $12 for a paperback you may not like or $27 for a hardcover. Most e-books are between 99 cents and $2.99. Three bucks is low risk. A disappointing book is less disappointing if I was only hoodwinked out of a dollar.
And, of course, there’s the whole eBook revolution that is opening the doors for indie authors like me to publish, sell, and succeed.
So, like most Christmases, I’m hoping to curl up with a good book — I’m thinking Sundered by Shannon Mayer — after the festivities have died down on the 25th. Hopefully, I’ll be doing it in a whole new way.