My Books Will Call Me A Traitor

I have been shunning the idea of digital readers for a while now. At first it seemed like a passing fad, but the more momentum these gadgets gain, the more nervous I get. I’m a fan of my books (of which I have far too many), and I couldn’t get used to the idea of reading off a screen instead of holding a book. Plus, I was convinced that my books would hiss at me from the shelves, “You filthy traitor. You follower. How could you do this to us? We loved you first!”

 

Ridiculous, but I do think that my books have feelings and get offended when I stop showing them love. So forget bringing an e-reader into the mix. That would be like divorcing my husband for a holographic man. What? That’s exactly what it would be like! So below you’ll see the reasons I’m on the fence about this issue (feel free to judge my craziness).

 

  • My books will find out that I’m not into them anymore and will be upset.
  • The whole book reading experience will be altered. This is a big one for me. I’ve been reading since I was four years old, and to suddenly change the medium of books is just weird. I am attached to the physicality of reading: the weight of a book, the sound of flipped pages, the ability to write and underline things, the smell of paper old and new, the feeling of cracking the spine open. I am so connected to the tactile part of reading that I think an e-reader might feel bizarre. And clinical.
  • I’m sorry, but I don’t need to check Twitter between chapters. Why is it a selling point that e-readers can get on social networks? Why do I care if it can hook up to Wi-Fi? If I want to see what’s happening on Facebook, I’ll use my computer or my Droid. I don’t need another way to get online, honestly.
  • I won’t have a reason to go to the library or the bookstore anymore. That would suck.
  • What will happen to small, independent bookstores? I’m sure Barnes and Noble will be just fine since they’re selling the Nook, but what about my favorite small bookstores that sell used books and newer books at a discounted price? They’ll become antiquated and obsolete. They already have trouble competing with the big corporate stores; I’d hate to see them fold under the weight of new technology.
  • The thrill of the hunt will vanish. There’s something about combing through a bookstore for just the right book that is thrilling.
  • My books will hiss at me from the shelves. I’M SERIOUS. There’s no way I could ever explain it to them. They would just resent me. Forever. I can’t do that to old friends.

 

So, for the time being, I think I’m going to stick with good old fashion books. I’m still on the fence, and I know this is the way of the future and I need to get with it if I want to be involved in the future of publishing, but sheesh. It’s a tough transition to make.

 

Do you have an e-reader? If so, which model do you have and why do you like it? Or, if you’re unsure about them like I am, tell me why.

4 thoughts on “My Books Will Call Me A Traitor”

  1. My mom has been offering to buy me one for several years now, and I respond the same way each time: no thank you, I’ll take the cash. Which I will spend on food. So later I can have money for books.

    I can’t think about the fate of paper-and-ink books. It makes me too sad. Because how many people do you know who still subscribe to (read: pay for) a paper-and-ink newspaper?

    My books have feelings too. Some of them are haughty and wondering why I’ve never read them, as they’re classics and CLEARLY far superior to the Larsson I just acquired. Some of them are still in college mode, from my first creative writing class days, wondering why I never pick them up anymore. But all of them would know if I started reading my books electronically.

    Not to write a novel or anything (ha and ha), but I think that e-readers and electronic publications might breathe new life into the short story. That excites me – but I still wouldn’t want them to take over the world altogether.

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    1. I agree with you about e-readers being beneficial for the poor little short story (which is AWESOME), but yeah. It’s a tough pill to swallow. I was just thinking about how excited I get when I unwrap a book as a gift or when I pull a book out of the Amazon box or get it from the hold shelf at the library. There is seriously a romance attached to the physical form of books! That would just vanish if you could click a button and read a book instantly. So weird.

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  2. Good for you! I completely agree with you on this one.

    I love books, but I want a proper book that I can hold in my hand. There’s nothing nicer in my opinion than curling up with a book… there’s something about the sound of turning the pages and feeling the paper in your hands that just can’t be matched.

    I,like you, get very attached to my books. They’ve very special to me and no kindle is going to replace them! x

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  3. I’m a librarian. I am committed to books, but books come in many forms. I have a Kindle and I love it. I carry over 150 books with me at all times and while I thought I would have a hard time adjusting, I didn’t.

    For me, it’s the characters in the books that come alive with feeling, and I get that on either page…paper or electronic.

    Good luck with your decision.

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