Giving in to eReading


imageI’ve hit a strange place. I was avoiding buying an eReader because I love the visceral properties of books. The particular feel of a book can remind me of previous one I loved. I was weirded out when the third trade paperback in Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series was just sliiiightly smaller than the others of its family. But I absolutely loved the feel of the cover and the paper in those. (Also, check out the awesome Etsy book art in the pic.)

One of the qualities I looked for in a purse was the ability to stash a trade paperback for solo dining out, which accounts for probably 80% of my restaurant intake. For those of you who don’t know, I read slowly. It can take quite a while for me to get through a book. So by the time I got to the end of Tails of Wonder and Imagination, it was all munged up, which made me want to cry. The corners were dog-eared. The top was splotched pink by some errant ink or nail polish gone astray in my purse. It made me sad. So now I’m purchasing an eReader to carry along with me explicitly so I have something to read but am not beating up a book. I could get a book cover, but part of the experience of reading that I enjoy is the feel of the book itself. Which, yes, I understand I will lose when I go to the eReader. But I think I’ll continue to get the stuff I love in a bound version. The eReader can be for authors I’m trying out or magazines or stuff that hasn’t made it to the publisher yet. For everything else, there’s paper.

5 Responses to “Giving in to eReading”

  1. 1 Holly

    What kind are you getting? Say it’s a Nook!? (vicarious living is not dead)

    I’ve talked myself into getting an ereader specifically for periodicals and pulp books, which will make me less hesitant to get special editions of things. I’ve worn out 4 copies of One Hundred Years of Solitude paperbacks… if I had it as an e-book, I wouldn’t have to drag it around, and could then have a nice hardbound edition for when I need to get my bookfondle on.

    Also, there is this…

  2. I sure do love my Sony eReader Touch. 🙂 I purr whenever I look at it. It’s a very pretty red. I bought an inexpensive black leather cover for it, and I like the feel of that too.

    I don’t have the same love affair with physical books–it’s what the books contain that make me happy. I do use a bookcover when I borrow books from friends, though, for the same reasons you detail when taking it with you. I borrowed a book from Patrick and it got so banged up, I was embarrassed and must bought him a new copy. Ha!

    My purses/bags must also be able to hold a paperback, which is why I really hate how they’ve made paperbacks bigger now, not to mention they are more expensive.

    If you have a bigger phone, like the iPhone or the Androids of similar size (I have the HTC EVO), reading books on there isn’t too bad either. The only problem I had with reading straight PDFs is that it wouldn’t bookmark where I last left off. The Kindle App, however, makes this a possibility, so I’m moving some of my PDFs over to my phone so I can read on those moments when I forget my book (so unlikely) or the lighting is too low to read a book or ebook (like in a movie theater before the movie starts).

    I LOVE checking out small press ebooks. The stories are generally shorter, more in the novella or novelette length, but it’s a great way to check out a wider range of stories. There’s also loads and loads and loads of free content (quality highly variable), and if you prefer DRM-free, a good bit of hunting can leave you with some great stories.

  3. 3 regansbox

    Holly — It’s a Nook. 😉
    Leesa — Squee. Awesome tips. Love the small press suggestion.

  4. 4 Kay

    For my “How long do I have to spend here in line?” and other instances where I’m caught without a paperback, I have lots of free books loaded onto my IPod (which is Cragin’s old one.) It works great for me. But we did buy my Mom a Kindle for travel reading. And loaded it for her. Baen has lots of free books. Hope you enjoy your ereader. I figure anything that keeps lots of books around me is good.

  5. 6 months later, I’m reading your blog …

    Can’t remember where, but I saw an article that described the chemical properties of decomposing paper and how one of the results of that process is a chemical very similar to vanilla. So the smell you get when you walk into those old, used book stores is very much like vanilla, which leads to a warm, comfy feeling for books and book holding. So all they need to do now is create an eReader that releases trace elements of vanilla into the air while you’re reading it. And feels like leather.

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