Saturday, August 28, 2010

Why I don't like e-books

Pretty!
  • When you accidentally leave your e-book on the plane, you loose a $200 device and your entire library.
  •  All e-books look the same.  I do judge books by their cover and the glossy picture on the front of the screen doesn’t do it for me.
  • You can’t lend or borrow an e-book.
  • You don’t know what others are reading, which means you can’t start conversations about a book, or find commonalities with other humans over books.   All our reading is suddenly done anonymously.  One of the pleasures of reading is sharing what you read.  I bought my husband a book for his birthday only to find out he had already downloaded it and was reading it. 
  • Books look great lined up on shelves.  They have a feel and a smell and a place.  E-books are just pixels on screens. 
  • Curling up with a good e-book doesn’t even sound like fun.
  • When e-books take over we will loose the most important public gathering place: the public library. 
  • When I drop my books, I pick them up.  If I drop a book reader, I have a pile of glass. 
  •   Academics have a harder time citing passages from e-books since page numbers in e-books are all relative.
  • What will happen to book fairs and book sales and book stores? 
  • E-books don’t have a smell or a feel or carry nostalgia.  When my books are lined up on the shelves I can peruse them and remember where I was and who I was with at each one.  When I was 24 I backpacked through Europe and carried one book: a volume of women's travel adventures.  It lasted me most of the trip and started up several conversations with fellow female travelers.  I still have the book and I think of my adventure often when I see the book on my shelf.
  • What about children's books like pop-ups and touchy-feely books and board books?  I'm not letting my toddler run around with a reading device in her hands.
  • Everyone talks about the environment.  Does an e-book reader recycle?

 (I’ll grant you e-books are great for travelers, and for people with eyesight problems who can’t read small print, or people with small spaces who can’t have a huge library.  Sometimes I feel like one of those musty old writers who still write on typewriters and can’t see the benefit of a word processor.)  

Please comment and tell me about your vision of our book future.  Are they destined to end up only in resale shops like LPs?  Why do you like or not like the e-book reader?  

2 comments:

K.T. said...

I will not buy a book machine.
• I want to turn pages. I want to feel the paper between my fingers.
• When I curl up in bed with a book and fall asleep, I want to be smacked in the face with my paperback, not with a book machine. A book machine would hurt.
• I have a pretty Vera Bradley paperback book cover that I use that has a book mark in it to keep my place. If I bought a book machine, I'd never get to use that again.
• When I go to the beach, or the pool, or the bathtub to read (some of my favorite places to read), books don't mind getting either wet or sandy. Book machines don't like either water or sand.
• When I really like a book, I pass it on to a friend when I am done. I could not pass on a book machine to let someone else enjoy the books I read.
• When my dog chew's up one of my books (he did it once...it was a dog training book, believe it or not) it costs me about $10. If I happened to download a dog training book that Tiger didn't like, it could cost me $200.

Esmerelda said...

I love you KT!