I didn’t think this was a post I was ever going to write. I’m still not entirely sure how I ended up on this side of the fence.
I like e-books. Gasp. There. It’s out there. I’ve said it. (Okay, I’ve said it before, but this is the proper analysing-it post!)
I didn’t see it coming. I love books – love-love-love them. The way they feel and smell and look, the turning of the pages, the getting lost in them. I’d never have an e-reader, I vowed. Never, never! That was no way to experience a book!
And then something changed. Shifted slightly. It suddenly seemed – slightly less evil. Maybe because I’d actually seen how the page of a book looked on an e-reader (as opposed to computer) screen and understood that it did actually lend itself to leisure reading. Maybe because I went away for three days last year and took two suitcases, one with clothes and one with books, and realised that it was slightly insane. Maybe because I could relate too much to things like this. Or maybe it was seeing how you could get purple covers with cute little lights on them.
So I got a Kindle in February. And I love it. And, like many people who love their Kindles or other e-book reader device yokes, I still love ‘real’ books.
Some thoughts on my own experience of reading on the Kindle vs reading paper books:
- Mostly the shift in my book-buying habits has been from ‘ordering print books from Amazon’ to ‘ordering Kindle books from Amazon’. I still go into bookshops, still buy from bookshops. I would guess that more of my second-hand book shopping is coming from brick-and-mortar shops rather than online, now, though, which is perhaps an odd turn of events.
- I really, really love getting a long-awaited book instantly – this is particularly the case for anything released in the US where even ordering online rather than waiting for UK/Irish release would mean waiting for a while. But I do notice that often UK-published books are available in print editions before e-book editions (which keep very strictly to their designated date – not dependent on books moving from warehouses et al). I suspect that much of my future print-book buying will centre on these books.
- I was reading this piece from Kristin Cashore about needing to access bits of a book simultaneously and while I don’t think that’s always true, there are definitely books I would much rather have in print format. Anything with footnotes, for example (I’m not even talking academic books so much – the two that spring to mind are Sophie Kinsella’s I’ve Got Your Number and Tina Fey’s Bossypants). Reading them on Kindle is a noticeably different experience. Books about writing – because they are the sort I would prefer to dip into again if necessary, to flip through. Books with photos or other visuals. I have yet to read a heavy-going non-fiction on the Kindle, but then again books of that description don’t make up a huge part of my reading anyway (buying, yes; actual getting around to reading, not so much).
- I read way more when out in the world now that I have my Kindle. I’ve always been a have-a-book-in-the-handbag type anyway, but even so I find myself whipping out the Kindle a whole lot more than a book. Maybe it’s that it’s easier/lighter than a book, for waiting-at-buses/waiting-for-people moments, or maybe it’s that no one can see what you’re reading, or maybe it’s that even if you’re not in the mood for the particular book you were in the middle of, there’s always something else to dip into.
- I am a little more likely to finish books I have started on the Kindle than I am with print books. I’m currently in the middle of three or four Kindle books, and over twenty print books. This may be a time issue though – some of those print books were started years ago.
- I am still wary of self-published e-books, just as I would have been about self-published print books (though I do own a couple of the latter). The same things still apply – I’ll buy something if I’m familiar with the writer but apart from that it’s very difficult to persuade me to go with a self-published e-book.
- I have been known to buy e-copies of things I already have in print – sometimes books I’ve read already and want to reread, sometimes books that are too heavy and don’t lend themselves to being carried around.
- Have I mentioned the purple cover?