Balancing the Burden, or How Owning an E-Reader Will Not Destroy Your Love of Books.

E-Readers have widened the authorship scope to self-publishing; now you can offer up your literary endeavour to anyone, not just your parents. This has thrown up a whole debate on the value of fiction, the demise of traditional publishing and the worth of the paperback. As fun as it would be to discuss all those points today I will be sticking to the latter, and why so many people believe you have to either hate or love Marmite the e-Reader.1

As a literature addict, I am fairly certain I would go mad if I were to stop reading. I get involved in what I read, I will not stop discussing it; should what I read be particularly marvellous I will not desist in my mission to get you reading it too. When the Kindle was first released I was appalled, ‘What is this!?’ I exclaimed, ‘Sacrilege!’. The thought of giving up my (rather expensive) book habit for a (slightly less expensive) e-book habit was beyond comprehension. I love the feel of a book, the smell of a book, the excitement of underlining quotes and making notes in the margins; how could I possibly have the same experience with an electric screen?

Then my sister got one.

‘Well this is not so bad.’ I said, holding it in my hands. ‘Not sure I like the keyboard though, makes it a little heavy.’ Yet despite being unimpressed with its weightiness my resolve was fractured. The only problem with books, and I use the term problem loosely, is when you find yourself relocating. Renting lacks the sense of stability you gain from owning your own home; it means you move more often and packing and moving books, for me anyway, can be a nightmare. Books take up more boxes that you would ever imagine from looking at your shelves. I have moved several times in the last few years, as much as I love my books they can be quite the nomad’s burden.

My most recent move was the last straw, I needed to downsize. Coincidentally Amazon, in a move that I can only deem psychic considering my predicament, released a Kindle without a keypad. So I caved, I bought one and I love it. More important to me than my phone, and possibly future children, my Kindle is vital to my existence. With the ability to have thousands of books at my fingertips and a plethora of free novels, I am in literary heaven. ‘What about new releases?’ I pretend to hear you ask, ‘they are pretty pricey for something you cannot hold in your hands.’ You are right, they are, so when I think e-books are over-priced I go out and buy an actual book at the same, or a more reasonable, cost.

That’s right, I still buy books, I still love books; I still love their smell, I still love annotating them, and I love doing this on my e-Reader too. I have not stopped buying books; if I particularly love a book, or series of books, on my e-Reader I will go out and buy them again in paper form, adding to my library of loves. Saying you do not want an e-Reader because you love books is ridiculous, just because you have one does not mean you need to abandon the other, because when I can have a library I will and it will not be solely electronic.

  1. Coincidentally, I do love Marmite []

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3 Comments on "Balancing the Burden, or How Owning an E-Reader Will Not Destroy Your Love of Books."

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Charlie
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True, you can do both, and what’s nice is that there are many options for that – as in doing what you do, or reading free classics on the ereader and buying recent books in print, etc. As much as they may have taken the emphasis from print books (and, I’d argue, put restrictions on what we read – not in right country etc) they’ve opened a new world, too.

CarnelianValley
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RT @nomoreparades: New Blog: Balancing the Burden, or How Owning an E-Reader Will Not Destroy Your Love of Books. http://t.co/ZvRRaqGw # …

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