I’m not trying to convince anyone that they should get an e-reader or that they shouldn’t. Mostly because I couldn’t give less of a damn what people waste their money on except that I sometimes wish they would just give it to me to waste. I also don’t believe that Kindles, Nooks, iPads, and what have you are any threat to paper books, no more than escalators are to stairs and moving sidewalks are to regular sidewalks. I do, however, recognize that there are pros and cons to the e-reader fad and would like to talk about it (hey I don’t do anything else with my day so the least you could do is let me do this).
1) Holding it with one hand.
I have been reading “Game of Thrones” this week (yes I mean “Game of Thrones” not another book in the Song of Fire and Ice Series. If I meant a different one I would have said it) and because I mostly read in bed or sitting in a chair taking care of my cat, Razel, I like to hold my book with one hand. “Game of Thrones” is over 800 pages and I cannot hold one half open with my thumb and the other half open with my pinky (you know the trick I’m talking about). I just can’t. It would be really nice to have all those page in a thin little piece of technology that I can hold in one hand.
2)Reading in the dark
I’ve seen on the internet (because I have seen all of the internet) a comment about how books should be written with glow in the dark ink so people can read in the dark. That would be nice because as it stands right now I have to have lights on to read. If you are trying to read on a dark airplane you have to turn on that little light up above your seat in order to read your book and that light never is at the right angle and the guy next to you who is trying to sleep gets really grumpy. It is my understanding though that computer screens light up. Isn’t that wonderful? I would love to be able to read without messing with lights.
3) No one has to see your collection of dime store romances
I don’t know about the rest of you but having an English degree means that people think I read a lot more intelligent books than I do or really a lot fewer dumb books than I do. I don’t read a lot of dime store romances (like some of you) but I do read a lot of those young reader chapter books and things like that. Maybe I don’t want to have to deal with everyone knowing what dumb books I buy as well as super brilliant books I read. I read a lot of brilliant books, I have great taste in literature.
4) E-books seem to be cheaper.
A lot of classics are out of their copyright law so on e-readers they are free plus I think a lot of books are cheaper since you are only paying the author and not for the materials and shipping as well. Speaking as someone who doesn’t have any money I like cheap books. I like lightly used books, I like free books, and I like cheap books. I like expensive books too but not as much as I would like having the same book for cheap.
5) Multiple Books
I cannot tell you how many times I have had to take two books on a trip or stuck two books in my purse because I was almost finished with one and did not want to have to wait until I got back to read the other one. It is a huge problem but with multiple books on the same e-reader I could start the next book without delay and only carry the one thing.
Cons: (I have no intention of listing all the cons just the ones that are most important to me)
The books on an e-reader may be cheaper but the e-reader itself costs so much I would have to throw myself in front of the Front Runner (local train system) if I ever considered purchasing one when I am supposed to be paying off student loans. Why do I say that? Because those two things are about equal levels of stupidity.
2) Games and stuff
E-readers are not exactly the same as when they started starting out. Oh no. Now they have games and music and the internet on them. I can’t do all those things and read at the same time and I probably then would not use it to read. It would be awful, just terrible, the worst.
3) Bad for the eyes
You are supposed to take a break from looking a t a computer screen every fifteen minutes or so. I realize that books are bad for your eyes too, especially if read without proper light, but I think e-readers are much worse. Eventually we are going to have a whole generation of stupid people with poor eyesight and it will be their fault but would not have happened if we weren’t ALWAYS looking at screens (and this is coming from someone who has seen all of the internet).
4) “What are you reading?”
That is my favorite thing. When people think that because you are reading you are not doing anything and therefore can be spoken to. Usually when I receive that particular question I just hold up my book so that the cover is slightly more visible. No talking required. When you behave like that people usually realize that they need to leave you then hell alone and then do. I like that because when I am reading I don’t want to talk to people because I am doing something. So unless I plan on buying a new cover for my e-reader every time I change what book I am reading then I am in a bit of a conundrum. How can possibly communicate the title of my book and that I don’t want to talk without speaking to the person?
One of the older ads for Kindles (I think) was a man and a woman talking (kind of like the old I’m a Mac and I’m a PC commercials) and one of them was going to go pick up a new book at the bookstore. Th e-reader said they wanted that book too and bought it right then and there without any journeying out. At this rate we’re all going to end up bricked into our houses for the rest of our lives with no real human contact, just virtual and it will be terrible. Seriously though, we can have all of our food delivered to us, books and music downloaded right to our electronic devices, and it is only a matter of time before we make the advances in robot technology to make the delivery people not be people at all. I know it sounds tempting. I have been threatening to pull that trigger for a long time now. But here is a problem I like leaving my house. I like bookstores because they are filled with discovery. And, while I don’t like all people equally or at all sometimes, I like dealing with people organically rather than virtually. In fact I like people less when I deal with them virtually. What reason would I have to go peruse a book store when every book was at my fingertips? While we’re on the subject what need would I have of books if I was never going to speak to people organically. There would be no relating to the interactions within the stories.
6) Don’t tell me how to live my life (this is the most important con that I have)
Most of the people I know who use e-readers are a lot like most of the vegetarians I know. Preachy. They see me reading my rather large book and decide to tell me all about the virtues of the e-reader and how I should really get one and blah blah blah. Just like vegetarians when they see me eating my steak and tell me all about how meat is murder. Is my reading books made out of paper really going to kill the world because it took away a tree’s life? NO. And don’t tell me it is either because I know that little iPad of your took a lot more natural resources to make and is doing a lot more damage. So guess what. Don’t tell me how to live my life and I won’t punch you in the face, which is how I usually feel when someone starts telling me that my life would be so much better if I had an e-reader.
That is it. That is my life. That is why I won’t buy an e-reader even though I do know they have many pros and many cons.