Friday, October 28, 2011

Converted to E-reading?

I know you are out there, you Nook naysayers, you who decry the move to digital e-readers and e-reading. I know this, because I have been among you.

I, too, have a love of books. I love the heft and feel of a book in my hand. There's the cover art, the thickness and smoothness of the pages, how well the books sits in my hand. Books have personality and I love them. (see the recent blog post about THE NIGHT CIRCUS, a perfect example of a great book book.)


However, since one of my birthday presents a few weeks ago was a Nook, I must admit that there are things I really like about reading on the device.

I admit that at first, even though I'd borrowed a Nook before and read on it, it felt strange not to be reading a book. I missed the feel and personality of books. Books almost seemed too abstract on the Nook, much too easy to order. They are SO available and I can get them with a click of a button. And then it hardly feels as though I have anything.

So I was dubious, wondering if I would be all that enthusiastic about doing a lot of reading on an e-reader.

And then I started. Recommended by one of my co-workers, and being a book I didn't think Therapist would necessarily like (though now that I'm almost done with it I think she might like it a lot), I started reading SKIPPY DIES by Paul Murray.


And I got into the story. It didn't seem to matter that I was using a device. I was enjoying reading.

Then I made a discovery! As an active Nook seller at work, I knew the Nook has the capability to highlight and take notes. This was a feature I didn't think I'd use at all, but I do. And I love it. When I find a phrase or a passage I want to remember, I can highlight it and make notes about it. Before, when reading regular books, I'd have gotten piece of paper to mark the page. Then, when finished reading the book, I'd go back and find the phrase and write it in a notebook or on the computer. But NOW, on the Nook, I can highlight the phrase and write a note about it and it's THERE! No more pieces of paper. I love this feature.

I do this a lot when reading, so this is a boon for me. I am thrilled that it does this!

(The first phrase I found in SKIPPY DIES that I liked and wanted to remember is 'internal pandemonium'. I knew you'd want to know.)

To me, reading on a device is similar to when I started using email instead of sending letters and cards through the mail. Yes, with email there is the missing of writing an actual letter, the feel of the stationery and the look of the writer's handwriting on the paper, which is wonderful and oh-so-personal.

On the other hand, email (and texting) is so quick and easy to use. I (and I'll bet I'm not alone here) use email most of the time when communicating with others. Yes, there are downsides to using email, but there are a lot of pluses.

There are pluses to reading on an e-reader too. There's the note taking/highlighting features. I also love how portable it is. I take it everywhere with me (I have the Simple Touch, which is compact and, dare I say it, cute?) I can pull it out when I'm waiting in line at the gas station or the Starbucks drive-through, which I did not do with regular books.

Am I a complete convert to reading digitally? No. I am edging in that direction, enjoying some of the advantages of reading on a device. I can see myself going between book books and reading on the Nook. There are pluses to both. I'm glad to have the option!

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  1. I have a nook as well (let me know if you want to borrow books) and I love it. I don't buy the "I love the feel of books" argument because books today are not the books of days of yore. Heck, sometimes the pages get yellow before I get home.

    I do read both formats. I'm reading 1Q84 now and it's nice not to have the weight of 1,000 pages in your hand.

    eReaders are simply another delivery method. They don't replace paper books, they enhance them.

    Now, if we could just do something about eBook pricing...

  2. No, books today aren't the books of days of yore, but they still have personality (some of them, anyway).

    I agree about ereaders enhancing reading...

    How are you liking IQ84?

  3. If we proceed from the notion that "the medium is the message," I wonder what that says about e-books, then? It seems that "books" will become more insubstantial, transient things. Will there ever be such a thing as a "finished book" or a book by a single author?