Friday, August 2, 2013

To E-Read or Not to E-Read

I used to be an English major--which means I went through a phase of being a snob about books and movies. Then I got over it, stopped being so critical, and started enjoying some books and movies simply for the fact that they're entertaining. When people ask what kind of books I read, I still find I have to say that I go for things that are literary. When I've said that I'll read almost anything, people automatically assume I read romance. And for me that doesn't even hold entertainment value. So...I'm still a bit of a snob.

I also have a master's in book publishing. So I took the classes about book selling and how crappy it is and how almost no one makes any money off it these days. And I sat among the people who would never "sell out" and own an e-reader or even buy a book from a big box store. All indie bookstores all the time for them. (I love independent bookstores. And if I ever have lots of money, I'll do all my book buying at one. The fact is, I spend very little of my money on books anymore. Something to do with having kids to feed and clothe.)

I love the smell of books, old and new. I love owning a pretty book. Reading a book is a more sensory experience than reading off a device. But my favorite part of a book is the words and the story it tells. Which comes through on an e-reader too. I got a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday this year and have been asked if I like it. So though I still read "real" books and will buy nice copies of my favorites, here's why I like my Kindle.

- I chose a Kindle and not a Nook because with Kindle you can download out of copyright classics for free. Whereas with a Nook, they'll sell you the B&N Classics version for a few bucks instead.

- My library has e-book lending. I can check out and return a book without leaving home. I have bought a couple of books on my Kindle. But the majority of my reading on it will be through library books, making it free to read many books after the cost of the device. And yes, I love browsing library shelves. But with two little girls, I don't have that freedom at the library. At the library I get to pick out kids books and chase kids running in different directions and loudly whisper "don't yell!" and "no running in the library!" over and over again. (Check to see if your library has e-book lending. Most bigger library systems do, but the last two places I lived had very small libraries and they didn't have it.)

- I can read at night without a light. My Paperwhite has a background light that I can turn way down if I'm reading in the dark--it doesn't hurt my eyes or wake up anyone else. The light is also made so you can read it in the bright sun at the beach, but my beach trips involve chasing children, not lounging and reading, so I haven't tried it out yet.

- On a trip I can take my Kindle and have lots of books available to read. Not that I often get to read on trips anymore, but it's nice to have the option.

I hesitate to buy e-books because I do like to feel like I actually own a physical book after spending money on it. But with my education background, I understand how much money is spent on developing, editing, and marketing a book, even without the cost of printing. But I'm happy with my Kindle and wish I'd made the plunge earlier.

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