A little over a year ago, I gave my then-girlfriend a Kindle for Christmas. She took to it immediately, loving its lightweight nature and the fact that it could store hundreds of books. She commented how easy it was to use and how she wished she could get e-versions of the giant textbooks she was required to use in studying to be a nurse-practitioner.
I was happy she enjoyed it but maintained an old-world attitude of preferring traditional books. I claimed to like the tactile sensation of holding a book and the smell of the pages.
Yeah, well, while those things were true, I hadn’t actually used an e-reader. I got a traditional Kindle for Christmas and upgraded it to a Fire for my birthday (the first time it was ever convenient to have my birthday so close to Christmas). I could not love it more.
I bought a leather case for it that opens like a book cover. Thus, when I am reading, it feels like I’m holding a book. I turn pages by swiping my finger across the screen. Best of all, I can adjust the size of the text to accommodate my 44-year-old eyes.
I haven’t used Barnes & Noble’s Nook (although my brother has one), but I have watched my current girlfriend use her iPad the same way I do my Kindle. As far as I can tell, the only part of the traditional-book-reading experience the modern e-reader doesn’t produce is the smell of the pages. I’m sure Apple or Amazon is working on that right now, though.
My Kindle goes wherever I go now. It’s small enough it isn’t inconvenient to carry. I can now read just about anywhere, and I find myself reading a lot more than when I had to lug a book around.
Moreover, it’s made books cheaper. Yes, the Fire cost $200, and it will take me awhile to recoup that investment (assuming I had paid for the device instead of my family), but I can get books a lot cheaper now. Even if I wanted to pay the outrageous prices legacy publishers are asking for their e-books, it’s still significantly cheaper than a $30 hardcover. And I’ve discovered independent authors whose books sell for between one and three dollars. The writing or the production isn’t always as good. But when I’m only paying a buck, I don’t mind as much.
And, when I finish reading for the day, I can logon to Goodreads directly from the device and update my progress. (I can also fool around on Facebook and other sites.)
In short, I was so very wrong last year when I turned up my nose at the e-reading experience. I can live without the smell of the pages for this much awesomeness.
So despite my middle age, I am definitely embracing the Brave New World of this 21st Century technology. I’m reading more than I used to, and I’m having fun doing so. Vive la revolution!