I love ebooks - I do. All of my books are in ebook format now - no DTB (dead tree books) for me. I know, I know, I don’t have that ‘new book’ or ‘old book’ smell, I can’t flip through the pages, I can’t cradle it in my hands and read.
Here’s the thing, though. For me, ebooks work. I live in a small apartment - more of a loft bedroom studio, really. It’s charming, I love it, but up until a few years ago, I didn’t have room for real furniture. I mean, I could have put real furniture in, but it would have made it too crowded and I like empty space too. I really wanted a full size couch, and I finally had the financial means to get exactly what I wanted - real grown-up living room furniture. Unfortunately, the only space I had to put the couch was taken up by a bookcase piled with books. While I never had the thousands of books some people had, I did have a fair amount.
So, no couch for me until I heard about Amazon’s Kindle - this was in 2009. I almost never even looked at Amazon (I really didn’t realize they sold books - lots of ‘em!) until I read an article on the burgeoning ebook industry. As I read through that article, one throwaway sentence from a Kindle user piqued my interest “...I can hold my entire library in my hand.” Oh, oh, oh - my book storage problem solved! I don’t need the bookcase because I can hold my entire library in my hand!
I immediately went to Amazon and started reading about the device, looked up a few of my favorite authors, found their books available in the ebook format, noticed in passing that there seemed to be quite a few free books as well, thought a bit and tossed the K2 in my cart - it was December 29, so I chose next day delivery (holiday!) and clicked “Buy”.
The next day I booted and charged my new toy, watched as the few books I had ordered downloaded, marveled at how easy the screen was to read, and then stood in my (small) living room, looked at the kindle in my hand and then all the books on my bookshelf unit and realized I had left out one important step in my quest for a full size couch. Yeah, those books were not going to magically morph and reappear in ebook form -laughs-. I needed to re-purchase those puppies, or at least the ones I wanted to keep to reread (I’m a big re-reader - I love to revisit familiar places). So, I started making lists as I packed up my books for the thrift store or library and started searching for them on Amazon. I also discovered that I could find complete series on Amazon too - who’da thunk? I was able to fill in missing books from authors I liked, but had never been able to find all their work in my local bookstores. Since then I have purchased quite a few more books than I had ever had room for before.
I really thought I would miss the feel of a ‘real book’ in my hands. The anticipation of scanning the book spines to see what would grab my attention to read next. I realized that for me, maybe because I read mostly for pure escapism and entertainment, what was most thrilling about a book was the story inside. I do know if I were a collector, or a serious reader, I’d most likely feel differently about going exclusively ebook.
And now I can curl up on my full size couch with my library in hand and happily read for hours on end.