Ok, I’ll admit it — I’ve always been one of those readers who unwaveringly (and rather ignorantly, I might add) opposed e-readers. I HAVE CONFESSED MY BOOKISH SINS, NOW PLEASE FORGIVE ME! I’m rather embarrassed of it, really. I look back and my attitude seems rather neo-Luddite (as in a reference to those people who smashed machinery during the Industrial Revolution, #APEuro) to me. Ok, maybe exaggerating a little bit.
It’s like I was so attached to physical books that I refused to believe there could be a decent alternative. * Cringe * I would frown at polls indicating rising e-book/e-reader sales, scoff at debates praising the merits of e-readers, and generally roll my eyes at anything slightly pro-ereader. I WAS * THAT * PERSON. All this, despite never having used an e-reader. I know, despicable bookworm behavior.
BUUUUT. I’ve recently caved and bought a Kindle, and have subsequently been forced to reexamine and overhaul all my previous thoughts on e-readers. Or at least most of them.
While an e-book/the Kindle has nothing on a physical book in terms of beauty and presence, I think this is besides the point — no one is arguing otherwise! While I’m sure some readers might’ve switched over to reading almost entirely on their e-readers, and that the question for the future is if new books will only be available digitally and physical books will become collector’s items, this is not at all the question for me presently. For me, my Kindle doesn’t replace anything, but it does supplement my reading experience and brings some pretty awesome advantages and features.
Advantage #1: it helps me read faster. Well, it seems like it at least. I’m by no means a slow reader, but it’s so easy to tap through the pages on the Kindle that it feels like the book flies by! And though a location number is kind of a sad substitute for a page number, I think the percentage feature makes up for that. Plus, I love the “minutes left in this chapter” feature — I like to use it to see if I have enough time to finish the chapter before bed (the answer is always yes, by the way).
Advantage #2: HIGHLIGHTING! I’ve never understood how people can stand to mark up physical pages, but all my hesitation disappears with digital pages. Where has this feature been all my life?! While I’m reading an e-book now the problem becomes stopping myself from going overboard with the highlighting. Seriously — I almost feel like I highlighted the majority of Uprooted because I loved it so much! It makes grabbing the perfect quotes to describe something in a review SO easy. Then I just have to try to stop myself from using too many quotes in a review… I’ve also heard that a lot of people feel like they don’t really “own” an e-book, but I think that being able to highlight and take notes really personalizes the experience and makes it feel more like my copy.
Advantage #3: size, weight, and ease of travel! I just love how light it is, and I even toss it around when I’m holding it because I like to feel all 6.7 ounces of it, haha. I can read with just one hand if I want to, and if I get a special case for it I could even read while eating, A.K.A. the dream. Plus, it fits perfectly in my not-so-large purse, whereas a physical book never completely fits. Then it’s got the whole tons-of-books-on-one-small-device thing going for it. And actually, in a HUGE bookish decision, I’ve decided to only bring my Kindle with me to college next semester. * gasp! * With as little time as I get to read during the semester, bringing a whole suitcase of books just doesn’t make sense. And thinking ahead to studying abroad one semester (because if you know me I’m almost constantly thinking about study abroad 😉 ) I know having my Kindle will be just brilliant.
Disadvantage #1: (keeping in mind that I don’t mean to replace physical books with my Kindle) lack of real cover art. On my Kindle, at least, an e-ARC doesn’t have a cover, and my e-copy of Paper Towns doesn’t show a full-size version of the cover either, and even then it’s in black and white. I usually love gazing at the cover periodically while reading. It isn’t exactly ideal for Instagram, either.
Disadvantage #2: different reading experience. For the most part, I’m pretty impressed by how paper-like the screen of the Kindle manages to look. But I’m a visual person, so I miss being able to picture a certain scene in its location on the page, which I can’t really do with an e-book. And of course, just being able to hold a book and flip through it so easily. It’s also been suggested that e-readers interrupt the way our brain normally interprets written language (a surprisingly physical process) which could mean something for comprehension. For more check out this article.
Overall though, while I have yet to read anything besides e-ARCs on my Kindle, I think I can safely say that my view of e-readers has almost completely changed, and for the better. While I love my physical books, my Kindle is without a doubt here to stay — and I think I’ll even appreciate it more in the longer I have it.