I love to buy books, organize books, look at books, plan my next home library upgrade, scavenge through used book stores, screw around on Goodreads (add me!), everything. So it was only natural that my dad, who prefers to buy technological gadgets as gifts, got me a Kobo Touch for Christmas three years ago. At first, I really didn’t want one. I did love them, I loved the idea of them being compact and portable and environmentally friendly, all of that. But how could I give up REAL books? Well obviously I didn’t have to. I made a weird little compromise with myself, and as long as I’m still buying the real thing, I really do enjoy reading them on my Kobo. I get a book to flip through and display on the shelf, with an epub file for easy portability. It’s the best of both worlds.
Good stuff about ereaders:
-You can adjust the font and font size. A lot of books have very tiny print, but now it’s not an issue.
-I’ll never run out of anything to read. Even if for whatever reason I had to stop buying real books, I’ve downloaded hundreds, so I won’t run out for many years, making this one thing I would definitely want with me on a desert island. In the past this has been an issue about once or twice a year, making me resort to whatever odds and ends I could find on my shelf. This is the reason I can say I’ve read A Practical Guide to Racism, and Why Do Men Have Nipples?. Those were dark times, indeed.
-If I want to read in the bath, I can put it in a ziploc bag and not worry about it getting damaged. Last time I tried this with a paper book, it got all soggy. Some obsessive readers have taken it into the shower. At least I can say I’m not THAT bad. If you are, well, you have my respect, Weirdo.
-Ebooks are pirate-able. I freely admit that as I always purchase a hard copy of everything I read, I don’t feel obligated to pay again for the epub file, and don’t expect that I ever will. If I can’t download it, a paper copy alone it shall be.
-If I’m leaving the house and know I will finish a book before I get home, it no longer means I have to cram two into my bag.
-Customizing with decals and cases is fun.
-Reading life, the Kobo page that gives you your reading stats, is mildly neat.
-I can freely give away infinite copies of my epub files to friends who also have ereaders.
The Bad, and why I still buy paper:
Finishing a book on the Kobo and then starting another one is really anti-climactic. It doesn’t feel like you really DID anything. You just turn the page, touch the screen, and there’s another book. I love being able to close a paper book, go add it to the shelf, and pick up another one. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but to me it kind of is. Kobo books just don’t feel that “real” to me. The compact-ness also has that downside. It’s just not as satisfying to stare at your screen of downloads as it is to gaze lovingly at your big beautiful library shelves. There’s something lame, artificial, and wimpy about it in comparison. And you can’t play with categorizing the books on the Kobo either. They’re just alphabetical. And it’s pretty stupid to will your kobo to a needy school when you die. Yes, I have big plans for my library. Important ones. Hopefully libraries as we know them won’t by then be a hilariously outdated relic of the past.
So this is why I enjoy both. I’m downloading to the Kobo and reading whatever I find available for free on there. Whatever I read on it, I go ahead and buy a used copy of the real thing to flip through and all that good stuff. When I finish it, I still get to put the real thing on the real shelf. Whatever I can’t download, I just stick with the real thing. I’m enjoying this system.
So whether you love ereaders or hate them, I can see your point. If you like both, go ahead and have both 🙂