For a long time, I had no thoughts of buying an e-reader. Not because I had anything against them, I just never thought about it.
That changed last summer, while I was charging through all five books of George R.R. Martin‘s A Song Of Ice and Fire series. The first season of the TV version of Game of Thrones had just ended and I was sick of having the story spoiled almost every time I went somewhere on the internet where the show was being discussed. True, I could have spent the next seven years or so avoiding Game Of Thrones discussion on the web, but I thought reading the books was a better option.
It was fine for the first four books. I actually listened to the audio version of the first book, and got paperback editions for the next three books. I finished those within a couple of weeks.
Then I received the hardcover version of the fifth book, A Dance With Dragons.
It’s a really long book and trying to read it was a challenge, just from the standpoint of finding a comfortable way of holding the book while reading it. There is no comfortable way to hold it. That sucker is heavy. It was like trying to read something carved into a boulder while holding it in your lap. I guess I could have read it at the dining room table or something, but I don’t find that comfortable, either. As a book it was a major pain, though it might make a handy weapon someday.
All the time I was reading it, I thought, this is why people get a Kindle.
So I got my first Kindle.
It’s amazing to me that something like an e-reader can be controversial. There are people who act like the world is coming to the end because of them. I’ve found a lot of articles about what people hate about them.
One complaint I saw was that e-readers don’t “smell” like books. (Do people get a contact high from sniffing ink? Smell has never been a big part of what attracts me to books.)
I get the environmental concerns, but that can be said about all electronics. There are responsible ways to use and dispose of them. Yes, pricing is an issue, and so is the fact that you don’t actually “own” the book.
But there are always disadvantages along with the advantages of any new technology.
I like my Kindle. I’m in a stage of life where, ahem, I can’t read small print the way I used to. Yes, even with progressive lenses, it’s still a chore. I like fiddling with the size of the font until I can read without squinting. I like that I can take a whole library of books with me in my tote bag to work or in my luggage on a trip and not strain my shoulder. I like that I can read a 1,000 page book without struggling to hold it while I read it.
Oh, yeah–I mentioned audio books earlier. Some people don’t like those either. They don’t consider that “reading” for some reason. I like audio books because I have a dull job and it makes the day go faster. I think human beings like to be told a story from time to time. That’s how stories were first shared. It has disadvantages, too. For instance, a bad reader and can really diminish the enjoyment of a book. But a great reader can also enhance the experience.
I still buy books (as long as the print isn’t too small). I probably always will. There are times when I’m reading a paperback book at home, listening to an audio book at work, and reading yet another book on my Kindle during my lunch hour and my bus commute.
I think that’s cool.