Have you ever received a gift from someone close to you, and when you open it, you think to yourself "What the Butterfly (thank you Colleen Hoover for curbing my occasional swearing) - this person has no idea who I am"? That was the thought that went through my mind when my mother-in-law got me a Kobo last year for my birthday. The look on my face must have given my thoughts away, because she immediately started justifying the gift - it can hold so many books, the books cost less, you can get books that aren't in print, the battery lasts a long time, etc, etc, etc.
I actually started crying. I felt like she was telling me that I no longer could buy books. That I couldn't spend my lunch hours in a bookstore, making a mental wish list of all the books I wanted. Dread washed over me when I couldn't imagine myself cracking the spine of another soon-to-be favourite. That I would be going to sleep at normal hours after just watching TV. That the bookcases I recently purchased would remain bare.
A new wave of waterworks came when I thought that I'd never smell another book again (if you love print books, you know what I'm talking about). That I'd never look at a word, wonder how I learnt it, and run my fingers across the text. You can't put an open e-reader over your leg while you check text messages on your cell hone. If that falls, it might crack the screen, and then you are really SOL. With a print book, the fall will add more character and the worst that will happen is that you lose your place for a second.
Then there is the mother of all reasons I didn't want an e-reader - illegal downloads. I don't work in publishing (I work in HR for a bank) and I have no idea how these things work or the bureaucracy behind it. For me, this is a very contentious issue.
I wiped my eyes and excused myself. 2 weeks later, I purchased my first ebook. I felt like I was cheating on Print.
I'm not going to stand on a soap-box and start lecturing. Everyone has their reasons for doing what they do. It absolutely pains me to know that authors pour their souls into words that make a direct impact on me, and that there are people who are of the mindset that because the books are out there in cyberspace, they have a right to it them at no cost. I didn't want anything to do with it. And that included owning an e-reader. After my family and friends, books are the things I treasure the most.
Going back to my first sentence - I'm not a e-reader hater. I find that it has come in handy at times. For example:
- when the book is not available in paperback (i.e. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover - this is actually causing me physical heartache)
- when I'm not sure about the book and whether I want it on my bookshelf
- when I've ordered the paperback online, but I'm dying to read it and cannot wait another moment
(What about the indie writers and their editors? And the graphic designers who illustrate the covers? Books (no matter their format) are their bread and butter. There is no way I can buy all the books I really want, but these people work VERY hard. They deserve the recognition, even if it's just one book at a time.)
To the 2nd point: If I'm not sure about a book, I will get the ebook. But if I love it (please see Easy post), I will haul my arse to the closet bookstore as fast as I can and buy the paperback. I will also buy the audio version, and I have been known to buy 2nd and 3rd copies of the paperback format as well. I figure with so many people not giving these great authors their dues, I can do my part to make up for the injustice.
When people find out I average about 3 books a week, the question I get asked the most is: Why?
Like a person who has just fallen in love, I'm told I get this sparkle in my eyes. I stare at the person asking my this ridiculous question, and just answer "because books are (sigh) magic".